During the Kovid epidemic, the demand for charter planes in the country had increased a lot, but now their demand is gradually decreasing. In 2022-23, charter flights in the country decreased by 18.3 percent to 2,49,424.
According to data from the Airports Authority of India (AAI), the movement reached an all-time high with 3,05,449 charter flights in 2021-22. The AAI figures have also been accessed by Business Standard. Each arrival or departure of an aircraft at airports in India is considered as a movement.
Rajesh Bali, managing director of the Business Aircraft Operators Association (BAOA), said, “There is no doubt that the demand for charter flights had increased in Kovid-19. Keeping in mind the personal safety during the pandemic, people were also ready to fly charter flights by spending more.
Bali said, ‘Emergency travel was also happening a lot during the epidemic and this included air ambulance. That’s why now there has been a decrease in such flights. BAOA has more than 70 members.
During the pandemic, people were trying to reach their destination by traveling by any type of aircraft. “Now people have options and can choose a flight of their convenience and choice,” he said. He said that the operators should induct high class aircraft in their fleet.
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Instead of business jets, customers are now traveling in the business class of commercial aircraft. When asked about this, Bali said, ‘It is true to a large extent. But it is also being seen that if a company sends 2-3 of its senior executives somewhere, it books charter planes. You will see the impact of its demand in FY2024. Amit Dutta, managing director of Blades India, said health concerns during COVID-19 and absence of domestic flights had spurred demand for charter flights in the country. But now such a situation is not there, due to which the demand for charter planes has come down. However, he added that there is still a good demand for charter flights for business purposes. Dutta, like Bali, said that the demand for air ambulances had increased significantly during the second wave of the pandemic. But now its demand has reduced, due to which the total movement of charter planes has also decreased.
During Kovid, many commercial airlines also started providing charter services, due to which the total charter flights increased. “Now we are back to charter aggregators and operators providing such services,” Dutta said.
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Dutta expects the demand for charter flights to increase in 2023-24 as people continue to use charter flights while giving importance to their convenience. He said, ‘During Kovid there were many people who traveled in charter flight for the first time. They can still continue to take advantage of it.