Business Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Saturday, Aug 12, 2006
Logistics - Airlines
Industry & Economy - Economy
Travel trade largely unaffected by Heathrow scare
International and domestic airports in Mumbai beef up security
Air-India has introduced secondary frisking measures for stricter checks and passengers and their baggage are being inspected through X-ray scanning machines
Mumbai , Aug. 11
The unearthing of explosive material from Heathrow Airport in London and the subsequent red alert sounded at major Indian airports had only a marginal effect on the domestic travel and tourism sector. Barring a few cancellations (due to reasons other than the scare) and some delays at the airports, the threat has not impacted the travel industry in any manner.
"We have not had any cancellations today. Business travel would not be affected as they travel on work and would not postpone decisions. In the leisure travel segment, the percentage of people going on a holiday is comparatively less during this time of the year and so we do not expect any cancellation," said Mr Arup Sen, Executive Director, Cox & Kings.
Echoing similar sentiment, Mr Ashwin Damera, CEO of Travelguru said the Mumbai international airport saw some 20-odd flights taking off for Heathrow daily, including the indirect ones.
"None of these has been cancelled, but there was some delay in some of these flights. We have not recorded any cancellation of tickets today," he told Business Line. Other travel solutions companies, including Thomas Cook India, shared the same view.
The terror threat has also not impacted the hospitality industry in any significant measure, with no major room booking cancellations or boarding extensions recorded as a result of the scare.
"People are not really worried about subversive activities or terrorist threats anymore. Our business has not been affected because of the Heathrow bomb scare," said a spokesperson for Orchid Hotels.
Meanwhile, both the international and domestic airports in Mumbai, apart from the airlines, have beefed up security in the wake of the terror threat.
Tightened security was in evidence at the Chatrapathi Shivaji International Terminal right from the entrance, with the airport premises milling with uniformed security personnel, including those from Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).
They even stopped some visitors from entering the airport and questioned anybody spotted loitering.
Stocks positive, Re weak
The stock market largely remained unaffected. The BSE Sensex closed higher 43.29 points (or 0.39 per cent) at 11,192.46 on Friday. The aviation stocks also did not reflect any apprehension with the counter of Jet Airways closing firm by 1.9 per cent at Rs 522.30 on the BSE.
The rupee weakened against the dollar by around 10 paise due to the security threats in the country. The home currency opened at 46.48 to close at 46.52/53, lower than Thursday's close at 46.41/42. "Reports from the US warning India about terrorist attacks, weakened the rupee," said a dealer at a private bank.
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