Clouds Of Optimism Lay Ahead For the Aviation and Private Jets Sector Post COVID-19 The Indian airlines sector can definitely expect a U-shaped retrieval with domestic travel recuperating faster than the global markets

By Abhishek Kulkarni

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The global pandemic COVID-19 has taken a colossal toll on the world's economic activity with individuals, organizations, governments and businesses having to modify rapidly during the ongoing crisis. Coupled with wellbeing and health implications, the threat brings along with it a grave disruption to all walks of life and the aviation sector is no exception.

While it would be just speculation when and how the world will break free of COVID-19, let's take a look at how the aviation industry is handling the brunt of it all.

Impact of COVID-19 on the Aviation Sector

The International Civil Aviation Organisation had in February projected a dip of 2 per cent in international passenger capacity. By March, the same had dipped to 27 per cent and is further expected to go down with the current lockdown in progress with no immediate ease of restrictions in sight. Airfares have also come under pressure due to approximately 30 per cent drop in bookings to virus-affected destinations. As a result, airfares to such terminuses have fallen by 20-30 per cent. Domestic traffic development is also slowly being impacted by domestic travelers delaying or terminating their travel plans.

Fleet Management will be the Need of the Hour

The crisis having idled much of the aviation business; fleet readiness and maintenance considerations is of paramount significance to tackle the challenges posed by the pandemic. In current situation, the entire nation has been facing major logistical turbulences in carrying medicine, equipment and relief supplies from one part of the country to another. To serve this purpose, airlines can offer strategic resources, aircraft and crew to transport medication, essential equipment, and relief material from one end of the country to another. These fleet services can cover major cities across India with an inclination to fly in the service of the nation. Additionally, at the moment when the aircraft is not functioning, authorities must ensure to document any measures utilized to exercise and uphold the maintenance of fleet services. Aircraft to be sustained in an airworthy condition by continuously testing their fuel farm, confirm chemicals are warehoused properly and not leaking, keeping aircraft ready to fly in case emergency prerequisites ascend, such as humanitarian flights or other trips.

Fleet management in terms of private jets would imply owners placing their aircraft under the management control of permits holder companies in order to save on overall cost.

Future of Aviation Sector

It has been suggested that the industry will take longer than anticipated to recover completely from the disturbance caused by COVID-19. When passenger operations do recommence, airports, as well as airlines, will be under severe limitations to ensure there is no spread of the virus. Social distancing practices have to be followed at airport premises and in flights, which will have to operate with only one-third occupancy to safeguard extreme social distancing between onboard passengers, this is predictable to push up ticket prices.

The Sector of Private Jets Witnessing a Progressive Rise

The domain of private jets is another sector of the industry that is currently been witnessing a great demand. Being favoured by the wealthy community of the HNIs, NRIs and corporate biggies, the demand for private jets has been flourishing in a time when the overall industry has been engulfed by the maelstrom of the COVID-19 pandemic. Clients are choosing to charter because they did not want to be confined with hundreds of people with "unknown' travel histories, and noted that private passengers usually cleared customs and immigration separate from the crowded main airport terminals.

Mounting Demand for Private Jets and Chartered Airplanes

Unlike commercial flights, chartering a private jet allows you to fly at your own schedule, at a time that suits you best. There are also hundreds of dedicated private jet terminals around the country to choose from to avoid the lengthy check-in process and security line at public airports. And the best part is, you don't have to get there an hour early. Arriving at the tarmac 15 minutes before your flight is more than enough.

Taking a private jet means skipping customs and immigration queues altogether. As soon as the plane lands, you can just disembark from the plane and climb into your ride. But aside from that, flying private tends to be much faster than flying commercial because private aviation is not tied to specific routes and schedules. Operators can plan their routes, while the jets often fly at a higher altitude than commercial airlines to avoid air traffic.

Private Jets on the Ground

Smaller jets don't require the vast runways and staffs offered by key airports, thus enabling them to fly out of smaller spots. There are many minor airports available than major ones for you to board the jet. And when you get off, your bags are moved right into your car, thus not requiring you to spend time at the baggage carousel.

Private Jets in the Air

One thing that distinguishes private jets from others is that they are not tied to the same hub and spoke networks utilized by airlines, so if your plane has plenty of fuel capacity to reach your destination, you can fly direct. Being equipped to limb faster than airlines, private jets are above crummy weather sooner and fly faster too. Commercial jets cruise around 35,000 feet while smaller jets characteristically fly higher thus putting them above the air traffic, so their paths are more direct and never compete with bigger planes for space issues.

Despite being susceptible, Indian airlines are in an improved position, compared with global counterparts. The sector can definitely expect a U-shaped retrieval with domestic travel recuperating faster than the global markets.

Abhishek Kulkarni

Chairman and Managing Director, Urbane Jets

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