India shuts air, rail and road travel within the country amid a jump in coronavirus cases
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With countries closing border and the ban on travel, the aviation industry has been brought to a standstill. Most airlines have suspended operations for their international flights due to shutting of international borders amidst the coronavirus scare.
At a time when half the flights are functional (mostly for only domestic travel), parking space has become a major issue.
Before the COVID19 pandemic, more than 10,000 planes were in movement mid-air. However, post the shutting down of borders, the numbers have fallen drastically. This has lead to a parking space scare which, currently, is not enough for the number of given planes on ground.
According to media reports, Lufthansa Group in Germany is reducing seating capacity on long-haul routes by up to 90%. Apart from that, a total of 23,000 flights stand cancelled between March 29 to April 24.
Since India closed its borders to international flights till the end of March, about 700 flights a week, including both foreign and Indian carriers, stand cancelled. Prior to COVID19 scare, India received about 300 international flights on a daily basis. Additionally, all Indian carriers have also cancelled international flights.
Emirates, the world’s largest long-haul airline will also suspend all of its passenger operations from March 25. Only cargo services will still run.
With the lockdowns in place, some airlines are also running ghost flights for the fear of losing their spots. The massive reduction in flights has kickstarted a chain reaction of airplanes getting grounded. So where do they park?
Major airline players are getting into discussion with airport authorities and governments over where to park the aircrafts.
According to media reports, airlines park planes in the desert which reduces risk of corrosion. The grounded planes have been put away for a while, owing to cancellations.
The Delhi Airport, one of India's largest, has a capacity to park about 200 planes. Remote bays and hangers at the airport are also full. "We are operating about 1,500 flights in a day including domestic and charter," an official of Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL) told ANI.
"We have allowed airlines to park at the remote bay area near runways. Many hangars have also been given to park the aircraft."
(With inputs from ANI)
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