The post-Covid recovery in air travel in India has stalled, putting a question mark over the stretched finances of airlines.
According to government data, the number of passengers handled by Indian air- ports in September 2022 was still nearly 22 per cent lower than that in December 2019. Also, the monthly passenger movement at airports has moved in a narrow band since March this year, showing little sign of growth.
Airports in India handled around 24.94 million passengers in September this year, against the pre-pandemic high of 31.85 mil- lion passengers in December 2019 and 24.43 million in March this year. The passenger numbers in September 2022 were also nearly 7 per cent lower than the recent high of 26.85 million in May this year.
Between April and September this year (when there were no Covid curbs), airports in India handled 25.01 million passengers a month on average, still down nearly 14 per cent from 29.1 million passengers a month on average in the 2019 calendar year.
The biggest decline has been in foreign tourist arrivals.