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WORST IS YET TO COME

India’s refusal to bail out airlines is putting them on the verge of collapse

India-airlines-Modi
REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade
Staying afloat.
  • Niharika Sharma
By Niharika Sharma

Reporter

Published

For nearly a decade now, India’s aviation industry has survived despite experiencing one rough patch after another. But this time, the situation is so grim that if the Narendra Modi government does not step in to help the cash-strapped sector, it might be the end of some of its key players.

The Covid-19 outbreak followed by months of lockdown and the ensuing need for social distancing came to haunt India’s aviation industry at a time when it was already struggling with high fuel prices and massive tax burdens. In addition, the hyper-competition between a slew of low-cost carriers had made it hard for airlines to make much money as they lured potential customers with the cheapest fares.

During the suspension of flight operations between March 25 and May 25, some of the airlines lost between Rs75 crore ($11.2 million) and Rs90 crore ($13.5 million) per day, as per estimates from Mumbai-based credit rating agency ICRA. Even after the lockdown was lifted, airlines’ business did not pick up much as people continue to stay indoors.

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