'Domestic air travel down by 20-30% after coronavirus'

Domestic air travel has come down by 20-30% after coronavirus outbreak: Puri

Representative photo. (Credit: AFP)

Domestic air travel has come down by 20-30 per cent after the coronavirus outbreak and the aviation sector is suffering losses due to it, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Tuesday.

Responding to the debate on the Aircraft (Amendment) Bill, 2020 in Lok Sabha, Puri said national carrier Air India, which was suffering a loss of Rs 26 crore every day, has been further hit due to the outbreak as many routes it flies on have been shut. He said Air India flies to 50 international and 80 domestic destinations.

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The minister cited the International Air Transport Association (IATA) figures and said the aviation sector could be facing losses in the tune to USD 63 billion to USD 113 billion.

"My concern is that the domestic (air) travel has come down by 20-30 per cent," he said.

In such a case, Puri said there were several suggestions from the airlines companies which included the credit time given by oil companies for Air Traffic Fuel (ATF) be increased from 15 days to 30 days,

He favoured bringing the ATF under the GST ambit.

The House later passed the bill which seeks to improve India's aviation safety ratings and provide statutory status to regulatory institutions, including the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).