With the rapid decline of traffic and the closure of borders coming in thick and fast, it has become challenging for airlines to operate flights, especially in international borders. We have already seen GoAir shut down its international flight network; they had nine destinations abroad. Now, turns out Vistara has also decided to shut down their international flight network, effective March 20, 2020, through March 31, 2020.
Most of their network was anyways undergoing a shutdown, so this move just removes the complication of operating and rostering for international flights for the time being in the hope that things settle down.
- Dubai: UAE is sort of closing their borders effective March 19, 2020. They will only allow citizens back into the country and have already cancelled the issuance of visas for the time being. Even those who are holding resident visas will be not allowed back if not in the country tonight—no business case to fly to there hence.
- Colombo: Sri Lanka closed to international arrivals from March 19, 2020, onwards.
- Singapore: Singapore has advised all Singapore nationals to avoid all travel as of March 18, 1500 hours. All incoming to Singapore will also be subject to a 14 day Stay Home Notice. Hence, Singapore flights won’t make sense after this comes into effect.
Vistara issued a statement to this effect,
Due to the unprecedented impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on border controls and air travel across the world, Vistara is temporarily suspending its international operations from 20 March 2020 to 31 March 2020. The airline has also temporarily adjusted domestic capacity for the months of March and April 2020 in view of reduced demand. Customers booked on the affected flights will be fully refunded. The airline will continue to monitor the evolving situation and may make further capacity adjustments, if required.
These are tough times for the aviation industry for sure.