NEW DELHI, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) — India witnessed a drop of over 56 percent in the number of domestic flyers during 2020 compared to the previous year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“A total of 63 million domestic passengers travelled by air last year, which was 56.29 percent lower than 2019,” Indian aviation regulator the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said in an official statement.
The DGCA is India’s regulatory body in the field of civil aviation, responsible for regulation of air transport services to/from/within India, and for enforcement of civil air regulations, air safety, and airworthiness standards.
The impact of the pandemic continues to be felt on the Indian aviation sector as the regulator said that only 7.3 million people travelled by air domestically in December last year, which was 43.72 percent lower than in the corresponding period of 2019.
A complete lockdown was imposed in the country with effect from March 25 in a bid to combat the pandemic, banning all modes of transportation.
India resumed domestic passenger flights on May 25 after a gap of two months. After the ban on flights was lifted, the airlines companies were allowed to operate at a maximum of 80 percent of their pre-COVID-19 domestic flights.
All the domestic airlines companies had taken cost-cutting measures such as pay cuts, leave without pay and firing of employees in order to tide over the crisis.
While the private airline “IndiGo” carried 32.5 million passengers last year, which was a 51.7 percent share of the total domestic market, another private airline “SpiceJet” flew 9.39 million passengers, which was 14.9 percent share of the market, according to the data released by the DGCA. Enditem