An IndiGo Airlines A320 aircraft. Photo: AFP

With India’s Covid-19 restrictions easing and airline bookings gaining new momentum, the civil aviation sector is finally showing signs of recovery.

IndiGo, the country’s largest airline by market share, is now ramping up hiring as aims to resume flights to various destinations that were suspended during the pandemic. The airline is inducting new trainee pilots after a two-year freeze and hiring across the board, the local Business Standard reports.

“Our current hiring efforts are broad-based and cover several functional roles. We have also commenced operations to various new domestic destinations post the pandemic,” IndiGo said in a statement.

IndiGo currently operates around 1,500 flights daily and has added several new domestic routes. The carrier is also planning to begin service to Muscat and Kuala Lumpur in May and Istanbul in June, reports said.

Rival Air India announced in recent days that it will be restoring the salaries of employees in a phased manner to pre-pandemic levels by April 1 next year. All airlines had cut salaries or reduced staff as travel restrictions imposed during the pandemic forced them to curtail operations.

Meanwhile, online travel booking platforms EaseMyTrip and Cleartrip report they have seen a rise in air ticket bookings with the easing of Covid-19 restrictions. EaseMyTrip said it has seen up to a 50% increase in advance air ticket bookings for the coming summer period.

It is also witnessing a 20-30% rise in bookings for international travel for May and June, with a “significant rise in the number of people who are traveling for longer vacations.” Cleartrip said the United Arab Emirates, Maldives and Thailand were popular destinations for the upcoming summer travel season.

The surge in jet fuel prices could undermine the recovery of the civil aviation sector, however. Jet fuel prices have been raised seven times since January 1 to almost 50% higher than in the previous year.

In India, jet fuel prices are revised on the 1st and 16th of every month based on the average international price of benchmark fuel in the preceding fortnight. The ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict and high global crude prices could yet deflate India’s aviation recovery, some analysts suggest.