IndiGo has waived-off change fees on new bookings made from April 17, 2021 till April 30, 2021. Besides, the airline announced that passengers can now do unlimited changes for new bookings made till April 30, 2021 on regular fares under this offer.
"This offer is in line with our philosophy of providing our customers a hassle-free experience, and giving them much needed flexibility, especially in these times," said Sanjay Kumar, Chief Strategy & Revenue Officer, IndiGo.
Other airlines are expected to announce similar relief measures as the resurgence of COVID-19 and imposition of local lockdowns has started to hamper air passenger traffic.
Meanwhile, the Indian aviation sector will have to wait longer to reach pre-COVID levels of operations as the second wave of coronavirus threatens to derail the gains made by the sector over the past few months with flyer confidence down resulting in a sharp drop in demand in the past couple of weeks.
As per industry estimates, demand for flying dropped by 13% to 246,600 passengers in the last week of March 2021 (v/s the last week of February, 2021- when the peak was recorded), resulting in no month-on-month (MOM) improvement in traffic (down 37% to pre-COVID levels).
In April, 2021, demand further fell by 5% from the last week's average of March, 2021 to 233,000 passengers per day. Moreover, the situation is also impacting yields for airlines. As per airfare tracker of Motilal Oswal Financial Services, yields in March increased by 2-5 per cent MoM, but down 13- 14 per cent QoQ in 4QFY21. This is despite the upward revisions in the floor of airfare bands in February, 2021 by 10 per cent and again in March by 5 per cent. A spike in crude oil prices during 4QFY21 has further added to the negative sentiment, the brokerage said.
The sliding graph of air travel has again pushed airlines to seek government approval to lower capacity from present mandated 80% to about 50-60%, the same that operated during the early part of opening of the sector post lockdown last year.