Chennai

90 flights cancelled at Chennai airport in 11 days

The Chennai airport has seen a huge decrease in passenger traffic

The Chennai airport has seen a huge decrease in passenger traffic   | Photo Credit: B. VELANKANNI RAJ

Chennai airport, which usually has about 33,000 passengers travelling per day, looks nearly empty now

With flight occupancy and passenger traffic decreased drastically owing to the COVID-19 situation, it is now known that 90 flights were cancelled at Chennai airport in the first 11 days of this month.

According to officials of the Airports Authority of India (AAI), several airlines including Singapore Airlines, IndiGo, Sri Lankan Airlines, Air India, Cathay Pacific, Kuwait Airways, Lufthansa and Batik Air had cancelled their flights to different destinations. Dubai, Colombo, Singapore and Kuwait are among the major places to which airlines had cancelled their flights.

While some of the airlines had informed AAI that the cancellations were due to the COVID-19 situation, many of them have told AAI that the cancellations are due to ‘operational reasons’. But officials say, when flight occupancy is very low, then an airline will suddenly decide to cancel its flight. “For instance if less than half of the seats remain un-booked, then airlines wouldn’t want to waste money on operating that flight and decide to cancel it and cite operational reasons as grounds for the cancellation,” an official said.

Across the country, nearly 500 flights have been cancelled by both domestic and international carriers to many destinations.

Chennai airport which usually has about 33,000 passengers travelling per day looks almost empty now.

Last month, passenger traffic had decreased by 10% but this is likely to be much higher this month. “With so many flight cancellations, naturally, the passenger traffic will be significantly lower this month. Besides, most people are also putting off their travel plans by at least a month,” an official said.

When asked if domestic passengers will be screened, AAI officials said they have not still received instructions in this regard. “If we get these instructions, we will immediately start screening the domestic passengers as well,” he added.

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Printable version | Apr 4, 2020 12:32:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/90-flights-cancelled-at-chennai-airport-in-11-days/article31058871.ece

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