The COVID-19 battered airline industry has started accepting ticket bookings for the travel period starting June 1, sources said on Tuesday.
According to industry insiders, many airlines barring Air India amongst others have loaded their ticket itineraries on online booking platforms.
Besides immediate financial relief the move also allows the airlines to keep their staff and aircraft ready for the eventual re-start of domestic operations.
However, there is no government backing to the move, since the current 4th phase of lockdown has no provisions to re-start air travel.
While the current and more relaxed lockdown 4.0 has given relaxation to re-start businesses, markets and factories, it prohibits air travel which has been suspended since late March.
No future advisories to this effect have been made by the government or the regulator.
An executive with a leading low cost carrier told IANS: “This move is important since we can prepare a schedule, keep the air crew and aircraft ready. We are on the verge of collapse.”
Currently, some players have made cargo operations their main revenue stream. Still, fixed cost, especially the employee compensation component alone, has dented their financial positions and stock prices.
However, not all sectors are being offered under the new bookings itinerary.
“Some cash strapped airlines have begun their bookings for the month of June to gather some cash from the customers which shall help them to survive the recovery period,” Nishant Pitti, CEO and Co-Founder of EaseMyTrip.com told IANS.
“Government and DGCA so far have not given any directives to the airlines to begin bookings.”