It has been a tough few days for the aviation industry. All the commercial activities of the airlines are shut down at the moment because of the lockdown. The industry has been seeking aid from the government to recover from the enormous losses due to being grounded. The aviation secretary, Pradeep Singh kharola on Thursday has permitted flight bookings after the end of lockdown period though. As of now, there is no clarity on whether the lockdown period will extend or not. This being said, the airlines are free to start allowing people to book flight tickets from April 15, 2020.
The Ball Lies in Industries Court
The decision of whether to allow flight bookings or not is in the hands of airlines. The aviation secretary said that the direction from the government is obvious as of now. No flight operations are to be operated till the time lockdown is imposed. So at the moment, airlines are free to allow bookings post-April 14, 2020. Now, there is a possibility that the government may announce the lockdown period to be extended further, in which case, the airlines will have to cancel all the bookings and lay low again for some time.
Some Commercial Activities Can Start
The aviation secretary said that he is hoping in case the lockdown period is extended, the government can allow initiation of at least some commercial airline activities in a calibrated manner, if not everything. Not operating for a period of three weeks has harmed the revenues of all the airlines already. It has resulted in airlines slashing down their employee’s salaries. There is no cash inflow, and it will take time for the airlines to recover from these losses. If the lockdown is not extended, then all the bookings made will be honoured. There is no directive from the secretary on how the airlines should prepare for the future and contingencies.