‘Air traffic may hit 83% of pre-COVID level in Q3’

‘FY22 to see 9.2 crore domestic fliers’

India’s aviation industry, battered by the pandemic, is expected to see 83% of average pre-COVID capacity by the third quarter of this fiscal, assuming no further impact or third wave, Morgan Stanley said in a report.

According to the report, India could witness 90% of average pre-COVID capacity in the fourth quarter.

Estimating 9.2 crore domestic passengers in India for FY22, Morgan Stanley said this number was likely to grow to 14.4 crore in FY23, surpassing FY20’s pre-COVID average of 14.1 crore.

In line with the growth projections, the aviation industry is fundraising to strengthen balance sheets.

IndiGo’s parent, which posted an annual loss of ₹5,806.4 crore for FY21, is to raise funds through a QIP of ₹3,000 crore and debt as well as sale and leaseback of aircraft deals amounting to ₹4,500 crore.

Go Airlines (India) has filed papers for an IPO to raise about ₹3,600 crore.

SpiceJet is also reportedly raising ₹2,500 crore.

Air India’s disinvestment is expected to fetch about ₹15,000 crore. In FY20 the national carrier reported loss of ₹7,770 crore.

IndiGo and Go Airlines were reporting profits each year from FY2015 to FY2019.

As vaccination rollouts continue across the world, key markets are seeing a sharp rebound in domestic air travel, Morgan Stanley said adding that multiple restrictions on international leisure travel were also driving strong growth in domestic leisure traffic.

With the second wave appearing to ebb, airline passenger traffic is again seeing a modest recovery.

While governments globally have stepped in and provided almost $227 billion of aid for the airline sector (IATA estimate) since the pandemic began, the Indian government has provided only a minimal support in terms of a loan guarantee, it said.

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