NEW DELHI: Union Minister of Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri on Friday showed confidence and ruled out the calculation of several airline companies and aviation experts, which stated about normalcy in the aviation sector will return in 2023. He rather expects it to happen much earlier.
While talking to ANI about normalcy in aviation, Puri said Indian aviation will be back to normalcy after all countrymen are vaccinated in 2021. "We respect experts' opinions. But in pre-COVID level 4 lakh passengers used to travel in a day. When we started domestic civil aviation on May 25, 2020, on day one there were 30,000 passengers, which increased to 3 lakh 13 thousand till the second wave hit our country. It may have touched four lakh passengers per day and normalcy may have returned but I believe that normalcy will be returned by 2021 after all Indians are vaccinated," Puri told ANI.
In the midst of the pandemic and the COVID second wave, the aviation sector is hit very badly and the passenger load factors have hit a recorded low. "When the second wave came and this passenger traffic came down to 40,000 last week. On Thursday it increased to 80,000 and later it will continue to increase with the decline in COVID cases," said the Union Minister.
The Union Minister emphasised on the positivity rate of COVID cases in Delhi and provided the data. "Delhi's positivity rate is 0.6 per cent and recovery rate is also 90-92 per cent and the mortality rate is also low. This means if you test more than 100 people you only find one person positive," Puri added.
Puri has always advocated for easing restrictions in aviation sectors to see how the virus behaves. "I believe before the second wave of Covid, the aviation sector was about to touch 4 lakh passengers a day as we handled 3 lakh 13 thousand passengers before the second wave starts," he added.
The government has issued orders regarding the sudden change in the number of COVID-19 cases in the second wave, and reduction in passenger numbers and reduction in occupancy by reducing the existing capacity from 80 per cent to 50 per cent.