A massive spike in ticket cancellations, along with a drop in bookings, was reported by the aviation industry for Monday’s flights as several states moved to limit air operations. Air services to and from Kolkata will commence on Thursday, May 28 with 10 arrivals and 10 departures per day, said sources.
The Bagdogra airport near Siliguri in West Bengal also would adhere to the same routine as Kolkata starting May 28. However, Mumbai airport will resume services on Monday, May 25, but with a cap on services at 25 daily arrivals and 25 departures.
In other parts of Maharashtra, the state government has allowed one-third of daily arrivals and departures, which were planned as per the 'Summer Schedule' for 2020, starting Monday.
Flights to Andhra’s Vijayawada and Vizag airports would resume from Tuesday, May 26 with 20% of both arrivals and departures as planned under the Summer Schedule. On the other hand, Hyderabad will resume services on Monday with 15 arrivals and 15 departures.
Consequently, passengers, who had booked for flights on these and other intra-metro route segment for May 25, rushed to cancel their tickets. Notably impacted was the Delhi-Mumbai trunk route followed by flights to Bengaluru and Kolkata.
Industry insiders pointed out majority of bookings received were for flights between metro cities, due to the “pent-up demand”, but now with limited operations and quarantine norms, a large number of queries have been received from passengers travelling to these cities.
Even airline executives were left in lurch as state after state came out with new norms for accepting flights, thereby, distorting their network planning. Another daunting confusion was over the quarantine norm which many states said they will enforce on air travellers.
This led to a cascade of calls at the customer care centres of online travel agents. Nevertheless, many passengers still wanted to travel, if they were provided with a choice for 'Home Quarantine'. Except for intra-metro routes, the total cancellations would have come to only about 15% of the entire network, industry insiders told IANS.
In terms of bookings a sharp drop of over 50% was witnessed on Sunday on a daily sequential basis. “All the passengers booking flights currently are travelling for their essential needs and multiple changes in the directives by individual states have left them utterly disappointed. Now with operation of only a fraction of earlier approved flights has caused a spike in cancellations and the passengers are once again left high and dry by the government,” Nishant Pitti, CEO and Co-Founder of EaseMyTrip.com, told IANS.