Air India stops bookings until April 30th
Air India stops bookings until April 30th for both International as well as domestic flights. There is a blanket ban on operation of commercial services until April 14th. Only special and cargo flights are permitted. Air India along with private carriers such as IndiGo and SpiceJet are operating special and cargo flights.
No bookings until April 30th
Air India stops bookings until April 30th. A major reason for this is the rising number of coronavirus cases in India. This has prompted the airline to take precautionary measure of not taking up any booking for international as well as domestic flights.
The government had imposed a ban on operation of commercial flights in India on the March 25th for a period of 21 days. On April 2nd, the Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola said airlines were free to take ticket bookings for any date after April 14. Private airlines such as IndiGo, Vistara and Go Air are going ahead with taking bookings from April 14th.
“If we accept bookings for flights and there are very poor passenger loads for some flights, then it may not be commercially viable to operate those flights. In that case we will be liable to refund money to passengers of cancelled flights. We are awaiting a decision on lockdown before resuming sales of tickets for flights in April”.A Senior AI official had told a local newspaper regarding the stoppage of new bookings until April 30th.
Even though private players are going ahead with new bookings Air India has refrained from taking up any new, which paves way for doubts whether the lockdown is to be continued further than April 14th.
Air India has already a very high debt and recent reports suggest it would need around $1.5 billion cash injection for survival. Privatisation of the airline has also been affected due to this crisis.
Air India has been operating several repatriation flights to various countries. It had recently operated a B777-300ER flight to Tel Aviv repatriating Israelis from India. Air India is also planning flights to London-Heathrow from Mumbai and Delhi.
Flights to Frankfurt have commenced and is being operated by B777-300ER and B787-8. Four Countries in France, Germany, Ireland and Canada have charted Air India’s aircraft for repatriation of their citizens from India.
In addition to this, subsidiary Alliance Air has been operating cargo flights throughout the country transporting essentials.
With the blanket ban on commercial travel until April 14th, it does send a message when an airline such as Air India says bookings have been stopped until the 30th of April raising questions on how long the lockdown will last. However we cannot be sure until there is an official statement regarding this.
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