COVID-19 pandemic has caused major disruption in the aviation industry and there are very little signs of recovery. Even after two months of resumption of domestic flights, corporate travel numbers have recovered by a very small amount, said Dhruv Shringi, Co-Founder & CEO at Yatra.com.
Shringi said during a briefing that presently business travel is only about 10 to 15 per cent of the pre-COVID-19 level. Shringi also said that much of the air travel happening right now is essential in nature. "It is mostly essential travel that is happening now. Customers are also visiting friends and relatives. But there is no leisure travel at the moment," Shringi said.
Domestic flights, as well as international, were suspended back in March when the first nationwide lockdown was announced to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Two months later on May 25 domestic flights were resumed. International flights are still banned but the government has allowed a few of through its Vande Bharat Mission repatriation exercise, and air bubbles.
"The recovery in travel is gradual. It may not be a V or W-shaped recovery," said the Yatra.com CEO. "If one goes by the daily update provided by the Ministry of Civil Aviation, about 60,000 to 70,000 people are travelling a day. This is in comparison to about 4.5 lakh tickets that were sold on an average daily, before COVID-19," Shringi added.
To attract customers, fares have been 'meaningfully low' as compared to last year. Shringi added that yields are down by 7-8 per cent from last year.
Yatra.com has been put in a tough spot as nearly 50 per cent of their business comes from corporate travel. To make up for the slump in corporate travel the company has expanded its horizons.
Shringi said that Yatra is becoming a digital service platform for its corporate clients. Its clientele includes 800 large corporates, 20,000 small and medium enterprises, and over one lakh hotels, Money Control reported.
The company is now looking towards skill development. It has already partnered with education portal UpGrad to offer skill development courses for the companies it serves. It is also procuring consumables for these companies.
Aside from this, Yatra will also offer digital safety solution to its clientele. The company is hoping that this shift in its corporate strategy will help in keeping it steady during this slump in corporate travel.
Shringi is not worried about the company running out of cash anytime soon. He reiterated that the company has enough cash in its books. "We have $48 million in our balance. This will go a long way as our monthly burn rate is about $1.2 million," he said.