In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak globally, several airline companies have either cancelled indefinitely or temporary suspended their services to West Asia and also to domestic destinations from the Calicut International Airport.
As of now, 31 international flights and seven domestic flights have been cancelled over the past one week even as several Gulf Cooperation Council ( GCC) nations are adopting immigration-related measures to contain the epidemic. Saudia (Saudi Arabian Airlines) has cancelled its flights to both Jeddah and Riyadh.
SpiceJet has cancelled its flights to Jeddah via Bengaluru. Similarly, Oman Air has cancelled eight flights from March 1 to 11, K. Srinivasa Rao, Airport Director, told The Hindu on Wednesday.
He said Air India Express has cancelled flights to Kuwait and Doha. Likewise, Indigo has cancelled all its flights to Doha. Estimates are being prepared to ascertain the exact dip in the arrival and departure of especially international passengers from West Asia. “The fall now stood at 22.7% when compared to December last,” Mr. Rao said.
Air India had commenced operating its jumbo flights to Jeddah from February 17 after a gap of five years. But the wide-bodied aircraft has been replaced till March 28. Now the national carrier is operating the narrow-bodied Airbus A320 Neo from its existing fleet following the shortfall in the number of passengers. It was operating Boeing 747-400 aircraft initially.
The demand has fallen so badly that some airline companies are trying to woo customers with discounted fares. But meetings and conferences have been cancelled. Also, families planning to travel abroad for the summer vacation has cancelled their ticket.
The GCC countries have issued orders for quarantining passengers who have visited China, Hong Kong and Iran, Italy, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand. Countries such as Kuwait have banned the entry of nationals from the countries including India in the 14 days prior to travel to that country. Oman has also banned nationals of China, Iran and Italy. But it is quarantining passengers arriving from Japan or Singapore.
The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has issued a travel advisory for COVID-19 for Indians intending to travel abroad.