Coronavirus outbreak: IndiGo, Air India witness cancellations on flights to China; offer change, cancellation fee waiver

  • IndiGo and Air India on Friday announced that in view of the Coronavirus outbreak, they are offering change and cancellation fee waiver for all flights to or from China if the travel period is within next one month

  • IndiGo has not yet taken a decision on the capacity adjustment so far in the aftermath of the outbreak

  • Air India has only one direct flight to China and it runs on Delhi-Shanghai route

India's largest budget carrier IndiGo said on Monday it has seen some cancellations on its flight to China, which is hit by Coronavirus outbreak.

IndiGo and Air India on Friday announced that in view of the Coronavirus outbreak, they are offering change and cancellation fee waiver for all flights to or from China if the travel period is within next one month.

IndiGo currently runs two daily direct flights to China, one is on Delhi-Chengdu route and another is on Kolkata-Guangzhou route. It will start a daily flight on Mumbai-Chengdu route from 15 March. Air India has only one direct flight to China and it runs on Delhi-Shanghai route.

#FlyAI : In view of #coronovirusoutbreak Reissue/ No-Show/Cancellation and Refund charges for all International tickets for Travel to/from China effective
24.01.2020 to 24.02.2020 is waived off. Waiver is ONLY on the penalty charges. Any fare difference will be
additional.

— Air India (@airindiain) January 24, 2020

"The virus situation is obviously being monitored very closely. And, we have seen some cancellations as well," IndiGo Chief Executive Officer Ronojoy Dutta said during the post-Q3 earnings analysts call.

He, however, said the airline has not yet taken a decision on the capacity adjustment so far in the aftermath of the outbreak.

 Coronavirus outbreak: IndiGo, Air India witness cancellations on flights to China; offer change, cancellation fee waiver

Representational image. Reuters.

"But, as you can see, this is an ever-evolving story. So, every day, we have a conference call talking to all our people, especially in China. And, we are looking at how our bookings (and) based on that (we) will take a decision," he added.

He said that while the east-bound traffic has been affected, the west-bound traffic, in fact, has seen an uptick as the people are coming out of China.

"So, we seem to pick up on that, but equally we have seen the cancellation going into China. So, these are still early days and we are monitoring closely," he added.

He said that IndiGo had revised downward its capacity forecast to 20 percent for 2020-21 from 25 percent projected earlier as the aircraft deliveries from Airbus are slower than the airline anticipated.

"Our fourth quarter is off to weak start because of the engine changes and all that. And, after June, we will really ramp up the aircraft utilisation. So, it is weak in the first quarter...and then ramp up towards the end. So, it is the aircraft utilisation which is driving this on the engine issue. We've had some delivery delays as well from Airbus. So, it's a combination of both," Dutta said.

He said IndiGo had "very good" contracts with both Airbus and engine maker Pratt & Whitney, adding that "we have good contracts in terms of compensation and we will pursue them vigorously".

AirAsia has also announced extension of suspension of all flights to and from Wuhan.

Dampening the celebrations of the Lunar New Year, China, in an unprecedented move, has shut down transportation in at least 13 cities—Wuhan and 12 of its neighbours—in central China’s Hubei province to contain the coronavirus. According to the National Health Commission in China, 26 people have died so far with over 880 confirmed cases being treated mostly in Hubei province. Twenty-nine provinces have reported the cases.

--With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Jan 28, 2020 10:45:28 IST