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COVID-19 impact: Domestic air passenger traffic falls 33% in March

The first three months saw the traffic drop by 7.16 percent

April 30, 2020 / 09:40 PM IST
 
 
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Air passenger traffic in India fell by 33 percent in March from the previous month, reflecting the slump in the aviation sector following the nationwide lockdown.

Data released by regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) shows that a little over 77 lakh people flew in March compared to about 1.15 crore in February.

In February, the traffic had grown by 8.98 percent.

The government suspended flight services in late March and the restriction was extended along with the second lockdown gets over on May 3.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

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There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

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Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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For the first three months of the year, the drop was 7.16 percent from a year earlier. "Passengers carried by domestic airlines during Jan-Mar 2020 were 329.12 lakhs, as against 354.52 lakhs during the corresponding period of previous year," the DGCA said in its report.



The drop reflected in the passenger load factor of the airlines. "The passenger load factor in the month of March 2020 has shown sharp decline due to suspension of air operations because of COVID-19 outbreak," the regulator said.

SpiceJet had the highest load factor at 83.7 percent from 93 percent, whereas IndiGo - the largest airline in the country - saw a steep fall from 88.3 percent in February, to 73.4 percent.


Taking a lead

At the same time, IndiGo stretched its lead over the rest in the industry.

Its market share in March was up, at 48.9 percent in March, from 48 percent a month earlier. SpiceJet regained some of the lost ground, with a market share of 16 percent in March. In February, its market share had fallen to 15.3 percent, from 16.6 percent in January.

Vistara and Air India saw their part of the pie reducing.






Moneycontrol News
first published: Apr 30, 2020 06:57 pm

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