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07 April, 2020, 03:13 PM IST

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Unfolding virus crisis may take Indian aviation back by half a decade

A latest report outlined how the fight to survive the ongoing crisis has pitted airlines companies against grounded flyers the world over. Normal-time refund rules are not being followed now as rampant lockdowns have wrecked schedules for weeks, forcing airlines to park their fleets and guard their cash as revenue withers, said the report.

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  • Another 4,000 French nationals mostly tourists were also evacuated. The destinations included the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, neighbouring countries and other nations in Eurasia.

    In an email to his employees, Air Deccan CEO Arun Kumar Singh said, "In view of the recent global and domestic issues and subsequent directive by the Indian regulator (to suspend all commercial passenger flights till April 14), Air Deccan has no choice but to cease its operations until further notice."

    The Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee in Vashi said 140 tonne mangoes were shipped from Mumbai on Saturday for the markets in the Middle East, reviving the export of essential commodities through the sea route.

    "It was a very proud moment for me as well as the entire Air India crew when we heard from Pakistan ATC praising our special flight operations to Europe," one of the senior captains of the special flights told. "As we entered in the Pakistan's Flight Information Region (FIR) and the Pakistan Air Traffic Controller (ATC) greeted us 'Assalaam Alaikum!' This is Karachi's control welcoming Air India for relief flights to Frankfurt."

    Berkshire cut its Southwest holding by 4 per cent and its Delta stake by 18 per cent.

    India is under a 21-day lockdown till April 14 to combat the coronavirus; all domestic and international commercial passenger flights stand suspended during the period.

    Most of the airlines have commenced taking bookings for their flights from April 15 onwards. However, on Friday state-owned Air India said it has stopped bookings till April 30 and is awaiting a decision after April 14, when the nationwide lockdown is scheduled to end.

    The government was looking at a calibrated way to open up the country, and wanted to do so in consultation with the industry. Officials said that each industry needs to be looked differently and the ones where human contact can be minimised will get precedence such as air cargo travel versus passenger flights.

    The airline has closed bookings for both domestic and international routes till the end of this month.

    It’s a blow to an industry that will burn through as much as $61 billion in the second quarter, according to the International Air Transport Association, with revenue set to plummet by 68%. To weather the downturn, U.S. airlines have lined up for $50 billion in loans and payroll assistance payments from the government.

    For those with tickets for travel during the lockdown period, refund has already been initiated, the Railways said. The national transporter on March 22 announced that all its passenger trains would discontinue services till March 31.

    Lami Arackal from Ernakulam, who landed from Chennai at the Cochin International Airport at Nedumbassery on Monday night, was arrested based on a complaint from health officials, police said. ​​

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