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Indian airlines reopen domestic flight bookings amid COVID-19 lockdown

Author : Saipriya Iyer | Published Date : 2020-04-28 

The cash-strapped airlines in India have recently reopened travel bookings for the domestic flights despite the uncertainty of the government on when to lift the flight suspension.

The airlines that have started accepting bookings include SpiceJet and GoAir, for various travels between the major sectors from 16th May. Additionally, other airlines such as IndiGo, AirAsia India, and Vistara have resumed ticket bookings for flights from 1st June. This happened a week after the pulling up of airlines by the DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) for selling flight tickets during the nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus, despite being told to suspend bookings until further notice.

Airlines were also informed to refund the full fares for those who booked the tickets during the 1st lockdown period for travel between 25th March and 3rd May. Air India has reportedly refrained from reopening its travel bookings. In most cases, the airlines create a ‘credit shell’ for travel agents and customers to make fresh bookings in a specified time period. These travel agents can book the tickets that are worth their balance in the wallets. Additionally, the refunds are loaded in their wallets for use in bookings in the future.

Airlines are currently offering attractive fares to gain more customers for their flights from May. For example, a one-way ticket for flights from New Delhi to Mumbai in SpiceJet costs as low as Rs 2,500, while flight on GoAir from Bengaluru to New Delhi costs Rs 3,164. This resumption of flight bookings indicates the unstable financial condition of the aviation sector in India.

Sources familiar with the matter have stated that the aviation sector, including airport retailers, ground handling companies, airport firms, and airlines, is expected to register a decline of $3-3.6 billion in the June quarter earnings due to the ongoing pandemic. Therefore, airlines are taking necessary measures to survive this economic crisis.

AirAsia, Vistara, GoAir, SpiceJet, and IndiGo declined to respond to queries. DGCA also refused to comment on the recent uplifting of the travel bookings.

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About Author

Saipriya Iyer

Saipriya Iyer

Saipriya Iyer presently works as a content developer for fractovia.org. Having dabbled with the domain of content creation for nearly half a decade, she now boasts of an enviable portfolio, holding substantial experience in penning down pieces related to technology, finance, and a wide spectrum of other industry verticals. A qualified computer engineering graduate from the University of Pune, Saipriya can often be found leveraging her knowledge of software technology and electronics in her write-ups. She can be contacted at- [email protected] | https://twitter.com/saipriya_i

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