Amid the coronavirus outbreak, budget carrier SpiceJet has returned five of the aircraft it wet leased from Turkish carrier Corendon Airlines.
Sources told the paper the planes were returned due to a cash crunch, but a SpiceJet spokesperson said some aircraft have been returned due to reduced operations.
The coronavirus, or COVID-19, pandemic has hurt Indian airlines since the government has suspended international and domestic flights.
With a 21-day nationwide lockdown, air travel is expected to resume only on April 15.
Moneycontrol could not independently verify the story.
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Some aircraft have been returned due to weaker demand and closure of international operations, a SpiceJet spokesperson told The Indian Express.
“The suspension of international operations and the weakening of domestic demand due to COVID-19 outbreak earlier this month provided an opportunity to SpiceJet to cut high-cost expenses and focus our resources on running a lean and profitable operation. As part of the cost cutting exercise, wide-ranging measures have been taken including returning some wet lease aircraft,” the spokesperson said.
Airports, too, will face the impact of the plunge in demand, and will see a drop in passenger traffic.“Given the fall in airline operations, airports are likely to operate at less than 20 percent capacity for the month of April and less than 50 percent till June. A decline of anywhere between 8 percent to 15 percent is expected for passengers handled (domestic and international) by airports,” CARE Ratings said in a report.