An easing of flights likely to fuel demand for Southeast Asia

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The easing of restrictions on international flights starting next month will likely lead to massive demand for countries like Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam which have not had air connectivity from India during over the past 20 months but which are favorite vacation destinations for Indian tourists.

Such was the demand for Phuket, for example, as MakeMyTrip announced charter flights in conjunction with GoAir and IndiGo earlier this month in the absence of commercial passenger flights.

Pre-COVID capacity

The Ministry of Civil Aviation has said that all countries with which it has a bilateral air services agreement will have 50%, 75% and 100% capacity before COVID from December 15 depending on their status. health risk. United States, Canada, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Australia, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, etc. are allowed 100% of thefts. Europe and countries like Singapore will be allowed 75% of pre-COVID flights, while China and Hong Kong will be allowed 50% of flights.

Also read: B.1.1.529 declared COVID-19 ‘variant of concern’, renamed Omicron

“The move gives more options to travelers planning their Christmas and New Year vacations to opt for leisure destinations like Thailand, which has been a preferred choice for Indian travelers during the pre-winter holiday season. COVID, “said Aloke Bajpai, Group CEO & Co. -Founder, Ixigo

“While Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia are sure to generate great interest among Indian travelers, Southeast Asia will take longer to return to normal. Indonesia and Malaysia have seen a recent upsurge and Thailand today imposed restrictions on several African countries after the discovery of a new variant of the coronavirus called Omicron, ”warns Binu Phillip, travel marketing consultant.

Read also: Explained | What is the new variant of the coronavirus in South Africa?

Destinations like Dubai, which have seen an increase in air fares due to huge travel demand due to the ongoing Dubai 2021 exposure, will now see airlines increase capacity. In fact, the UAE had recently requested an exemption from restrictions on the number of flights under the air bubble arrangement.

“We have seen a massive increase in bookings for Dubai. It is already over 100% of the pre-pandemic level. Another destination where there is a significant increase in bookings is UK, followed by Nepal, ”said Nishant Pitti, CEO and co-founder of EaseMyTrip.

National airlines will take the first step

Domestic airlines, which primarily serve short-haul international destinations in the west and east of the country, will likely make the first move, while large international carriers could take up to 4-8 weeks to add flights from Europe, as they will. must redeploy planes and crews allocated to other destinations as well as rework their schedules, airline executives say.

“The resumption of international flights is good news for travelers across India, who will now have a greater choice of destinations and services. We are currently seeing high demand and enjoy welcoming customers to the skies in style, ensuring they fly safely and well. We are seeking to clarify the details of the changes as of December 15 with the appropriate authorities and will assess our schedule accordingly, ”said Alex McEwan, Country Manager, South Asia at Virgin Atlantic.

The airline currently operates daily flights from Delhi and Mumbai to London Heathrow.

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