Air India announced that it will stop flights to at least 5 European destinations due to of a drop in passenger demand for these destinations. The national carrier is citing that these routes are no longer financially viable because of the effects of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
On the chopping block are the cities of Madrid, Milan, Copenhagen, Vienna, and Stockholm with immediate effect.
In an internal statement made by the Commercial Division of Air India, it reads: “In view of the COVID situation, it has been approved by competent authority to close down following stations and become offline.”
“The current IBOs (international booking offices) are to be recalled to India, and the station will be handed over to GSA (general sales agent) after completion of formality of closure,” the note went on to add.
The IATA (International Air Transport Association) in its forecast in July had stated that global passenger traffic (revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) will not return to pre-Covid-19 levels until 2024, a year later than previously projected.
In addition, the IATA had said that for 2020, global passenger numbers are expected to decline by 55 percent compared to 2019. This was a revised forecast from the one in April when IATA had predicted that the global passenger numbers could decline by 46 percent this year.
Passengers who had booked travel on Air India to Madrid, Milan, Copenhagen, Vienna, and Stockholm should check with the national carrier regarding refunds.
Air India operates flights to 103 destinations around the world with international services to 45 cities in 31 countries and domestic flights to 58 cities. The airline operates the Boeing 737 Dreamliner, Boeing 777-200LRm Boeing 747-400, Boeing 777-300ER, Airbus A320-214 CEO, Airbus A320-214 CEO, Airbus A320-251 NEO, Airbus A321, Airbus A319, Airbus A319, ATR 42-320, and the ATR 72-600.