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In India and Bangladesh, air travel cancellations are on the rise and in Nepal, the number of domestic flight cancellions has increased by 40 per cent in the last 12 months.
Domestic flights from the three countries have now been cancelled by more than 6,000,000 in the past 12 months and in India, the total number of cancellations has gone up to 9,000 per day.
Airlines in the two countries are now forced to cancel flights to and from the two Asian nations if their passengers cannot make it to the scheduled departure date, said a senior airline official, who did not wish to be identified.
A senior official at a domestic airline, who asked not to be named, said airlines have been forced to consider cancelling domestic flights as soon as possible if the passengers cannot get to the planned departure date due to “personal reasons” like illness or financial hardship.
The airline official said airlines are currently running short on capacity and are being forced to find other routes.
He said the number and type of air tickets booked by domestic airlines in India and Nepal has increased in recent months, with the number booking of tickets in the first three months of the year now up by 80 per cent.
The air travel cancellation figures are likely to come as a major embarrassment to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, which has been trying to woo foreign tourists and businessmen.
Air India has said it will start a program in India to give the public a refund on air tickets.
The official said the airline is working with other airlines in the country to improve capacity.
“We are not in a position to give a direct subsidy to airlines.
But we have made some initiatives to make sure that we are providing more capacity,” he said.
A report in the Economic Times on Sunday said the air travel industry is in trouble due to the growing numbers of cancellational flights and was in danger of losing market share to low-cost carriers.
The report said airlines in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru and Pune were suffering a shortage of pilots and maintenance personnel.