For India to return to a pre-Covid operational fleet of 650 aircraft is likely to take up to 12 months from the time that restrictions are lifted. India’s aviation sector is set to see a huge decline in the number of flights offered, as per Global Aviation consultancy CAPA.
The prognosis is that the carriers will need up to 12 months to get back to capacity levels that existed before the coronavirus outbreak grounded aircraft.
As per a conservative estimate, there could be 200-250 surplus aircraft for the next 6-12 months. The firm predicts that recovery would likely be slow.
It is the demand suppression that would happen due to economic dislocation; slow or even negative GDP growth; broken supply chains; low consumer confidence; and concerns about recurrence of the outbreaks of Covid-19 the first quarter of 2021 will be almost written off, with chances of traffic limping back during the weak second quarter, followed by a gradual trajectory towards normality during the second half of the financial year as per the report.
CAPA expects airlines to return their leased aircrafts starting from April ’20 end. The Indian carriers are expected to seek to return up to 100 aircraft to lessors, especially older equipment and those that may be closer to the expiry of their terms.
The number of returned aircraft will continue to increase significantly up until Sep-2020, possibly reaching 200-250, or even higher as per the report said, adding that the aircraft delivery plans of airlines will also be deferred by one to two years.
CAPA India estimates that carriers will require a domestic fleet of 300-325 aircraft from October onwards and an international fleet of 100-125 aircraft.
“The total fleet size of 400-450 aircraft would still mean that the current fleet of 650 represents a surplus of 200-250 aircraft for a period of 6-12 months. This may even be optimistic,” the Report said, adding that the projections are made assuming that travel restrictions are mostly lifted by the end of the first quarter.