CHENNAI: The Indian aviation industry has been severely hit due to the recent floods here. According to sector experts, the industry is believed to be staring at a collective loss of more than Rs 1,000 crore.
Commercial operators are suffering losses both due to flight cancellations and grounding of aircraft. It’s the private jets that took a massive hit with at least 6-7 of them either partially or completely damaged. “This is the first such incident where multiple carriers’ fleets have been stranded for more than a week. The losses are not just due to flight cancellations, but also non-operation of fleets. The combined loss could be more than Rs 1,000 crore,” Prem Kumar Pandey, Assitant vice president, Truejet, a regional carrier, told Express.
Typically, a 70-seater aircraft turns up a loss of Rs 8 lakh due to non-operation of a 2-hour flight. More number of seats implies more losses.
“Cancellation of one route will have a multiplier effect on airline’s operations,” pointed out Mittu Chandilya, MD & CEO, Air Asia India, which runs 10 flights from Chennai. According to Chandilya, Air Asia counts a passenger load factor of 80 per cent and this being the peak season, losses could be significant. “Because of flight cancellations, we need to do a lot of forward planning to ensure that the rest of our operations are unaffected,” he said, adding that the airline is taking stock of the situation in Chennai.
It’s no different for another regional carrier Air Costa, which parks four flights at Chennai, including two 112-seaters. Chennai accounts for nearly 20 per cent of its overall operations. “We took a timely decision to move our aircraft. They are currently parked at Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Vijayawada. Our ground handling equipment is severely damaged,” said Vivek Choudhary, CFO, Air Costa.
Chennai being one of the largest international airports in the country, several aircraft operators use it as their southern hub. Most carriers like SpiceJet, Air India, Indigo and Jet Airways also park their fleets, some of which have been partly submerged along with ground handling equipment like push-up trucks and diesel generators, when the airport was inundated with flood water for 4-5 days.
“None of the aircraft maintenance is done in India and carriers have to take out the engine to determine the magnitude of the damage. Commercial aircraft are in-built to withstand such instances. It’s the private jets that were hit badly,” said a senior airline executive.
When the calamity struck, at least 10-15 private jets were parked at the airport, including those belonging to Joy Jets, part of Joy Alukkas and Kalyan Jewellers.
Free Bike, Auto Service Camps
CM J Jayalalithaa on Wednesday announced that two-wheelers and autos damaged by floods in Chennai, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur and Cuddalore districts will be repaired free of cost at special camps from December 12 to 21.
Most Rainfall Since 1901: NASA
Chennai received more rainfall in 24 hours than it had seen on any day since 1901, according to NASA. The space agency on Tuesday released an animated map that provides satellite-based estimates of rainfall over southeastern India.
With massive floods in Tamil Nadu, the Central Water Commission has decided to set up flood forecasting stations for the first time in coastal states, including Tamil Nadu, which will get 14 stations, while Kerala will get two stations.
Schools in the rain-hit districts of Tamil Nadu are most likely to have mandatory compensation classes on all weekends and one to two hours in addition to the regular class hours for Class X and XII students.
From food joints to small shops, everything remains shut in this heritage site since the rains, a scene reminiscent of the tsunami aftermath.
Contributions towards relief and restoration works in flood-affected areas continue to pour in and on Wednesday as Rs 6 crore was received from various quarters.
Social networking sites helped a bereaved family in Chennai to trace the body of a flood victim, almost 300 km in Nagapattinam district.