Though air travel resumes, majority Indians skeptical about traveling in the next 30 days
- • Only 21% say one or more members of their household will likely be taking a flight within the next 30 days; Most traveling are those who were stranded due to lockdown or have an emergency
- • Only 10% say one or more members of their household will likely be taking a train in June
26th May 2020, New Delhi: The Government of India has permitted the resumption of limited flight services from May 25th, thereby enabling citizens to travel. While the number of COVID-19 cases in India are now averaging approximately 7000 per day, the model implemented by the Government is that of airport and operating airlines following a set of precautions and observing social distancing norms.
States however have come up with their own norms and many are subjecting arriving passengers based on their arrival state to different quarantine protocols. For instance, Karnataka has implemented a 14 day mandatory quarantine for all passengers arriving from Maharashtra, Delhi, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. Basis these rules or the uncertainty, airlines cancelled some flights only creating inconvenience for passengers. On May 25th, at Delhi airport, many passengers found out about their flight being cancelled only after reaching the airport.
LocalCircles conducted a survey to check with citizens if they or any of their family members had any plans to travel in the next 30 days. The 2-poll survey received around 16,000 votes from 212 districts of the country.
The first question asked people if they have booked a flight ticket for their family’s travel between May 26 and June 25. Only 10% said they have booked tickets and will travel soon while 11% said they have not made the bookings yet but will make it soon. A large 76% said they do not have any plans to travel currently. The numbers show that one or more members of around 21% households are likely to take a flight within the next 30 days.
21% say one or more members of their household will likely be taking a flight within the next 30 days
Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal recently said that 200 IRCTC special trains will be running from June 1 and will be separate from the 30 airconditioned trains that are already running since mid May. The next question asked if people have booked a train ticket for themselves or their family’s travel between June 1 and June 30. 88% said they have no plans to travel while only 4% said they have already booked tickets and will travel soon. A small 6% also said that they will be booking their tickets soon. This means that one or more members of only 10% households will likely be taking a train in June.
10% say one or more members of their household will likely be taking a train in June
With COVID-19 cases hitting new peaks everyday, citizens are extremely concerned about travelling. Feedback in discussions on LocalCircles indicates that those who are travelling by flights are primarily the ones who were stranded due to sudden lockdown on March 22nd or individuals on temporary assignment/studies in different cities and going back home or those wanting to visit aged or unwell family members or be with them. Feedback from train travelers also indicates a similar situation. With train providing better point to point connectivity than flights especially in Tier 2, 3 and 4 towns, people will be travelling but the reason is once again either to get home or to be with family that may be unwell or high risk. The feedback from those travelling indicates that of the total travel by flights in the next 30 days, business travel would be less than 5%.
If the feedback from citizens holds true, it seems that while Indian Railways can afford to run trains with poor utilization, private airlines would have a difficult time in filling up seats, atleast in the next 30 days.
24,000+ responses were received from citizens located in 232 districts of India. 64% respondents were males while 36% respondents were females. 71% respondents were from tier 1, 20% from tier 2 and 9% respondents were from tier 3 and beyond locations. The survey was conducted via LocalCircles platform and all participants are validated citizens who had to be registered with LocalCircles to participate in this survey.