While railways services have resumed in India before the end of the lockdown, the fate of flight services is still undecided. Once airlines resume operations, they will have to follow strict social distancing norms and maintain high standards of health and hygiene. If reports are to be believed, airlines may have to instate new practices that include keeping the last three rows vacant in case passengers need to be quarantined in the middle of the flight.
Domestic flight ticket prices could double
With such practices in place, airlines will face significant losses. To compensate for these losses they will have to increase ticket prices. The Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation India (CAPA India) has estimated that prices for trips could double. For example, the fare for a Delhi to Mumbai flight cost INR 5000 before the lockdown, it may cost INR 9700 after the lockdown is lifted. Similarly, a Delhi-Bengaluru flight may cost nearly INR 11200.
The operational cost of the flights will remain the same, but with fewer seats to fill, the profits will not be sufficient. The turnaround time of the flights is also expected to increase as flight cleaning will now take longer. The boarding process will be considerably longer, which will also contribute to the decrease in revenue for airlines.
Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi has announced that social distancing will be strictly implemented once flight services resume. Further, queue-managers will be deployed at airports and there may be colored-tape as well as markers to maintain queue-gap.