In anticipation of the upcoming G20 summit in Delhi, the Indian government has issued a directive mandating airlines to reduce their flight frequency by 25%.
This unprecedented move is set to cause widespread disruptions in travel schedules, potentially leading to the rescheduling or cancellation of over a thousand commercial flights.
The primary reason behind this decision is the limited parking capacity at Delhi’s main airport, raising logistical and security concerns as the high-profile event approaches, scheduled for September 9 and 10.
The G20 summit stands as a significant international gathering, with heads of state from nearly 30 countries set to participate. Among the distinguished attendees are world leaders such as US President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and Australia’s PM Anthony Albanese, who will be transported to Delhi aboard more than 50 special aircraft.
With Delhi’s airport already experiencing a surge in air traffic, the 220 parking stands are fully occupied, making it a challenge to accommodate the additional special aircraft expected for the summit.
To address these parking constraints and ease congestion, airlines have been instructed to reduce their flight frequency during the summit. Additionally, airlines are repositioning some of their aircraft stationed at Delhi to alternative airports, to address parking issues that have been exacerbated by grounded aircraft, including those facing technical problems and the financial woes of Go First.
Despite these measures, airline executives have voiced concerns about the potential for widespread disruptions across India’s aviation network, particularly at the primary hub in Delhi. The increased likelihood of flight cancellations has raised anxiety among passengers and industry insiders alike.
In response to the expected travel chaos, travel agents are advising travellers to reconsider their plans for the specific days of the G20 summit. Crowded hotels and announced road closures by Delhi police will be compounding the challenges for travellers.
Deluxe hotels in Delhi, including the Taj Mahal, the Leela Palace, and the ITC Maurya, are already fully booked to accommodate the dignitaries attending the summit. Meanwhile, hotels in Gurgaon and other parts of Delhi are experiencing surging demand for accommodations for staff members associated with the event. Hotel rates have soared by a staggering 200% in Delhi for the period between September 7 and 11, according to data from RateGain.
The upcoming G20 summit is poised to exert a significant impact on air traffic and hotel bookings in Delhi. Travellers are strongly advised to adjust their plans for the summit dates, and airlines are urged to prepare for potential flight cancellations as the city braces for this high-profile event.
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