Airlines in India have suffered an estimated loss of Rs 19,564 crore in the financial year 2020-’21 because of the severe disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Centre said on Monday. Airports across the country faced losses worth Rs 5,116 crore during the year, the Ministry of Civil Aviation said.

Domestic and international flights had been suspended after a nationwide coronavirus lockdown was imposed in March 2020.

Domestic flights resumed in a phased manner in May. Commercial international passenger flights were supposed to resume on December 15. But the decision was postponed last week in view of the concerns over the new Omicron variant of Covid-19.

However, since June 2020, the government allowed limited operations of Air India flights under the “Vande Bharat” mission for certain categories like Overseas Citizenship of India, Persons of Indian Origin card-holders and other Indians who were stuck abroad due to the pandemic.

Aviation has been one of the worst affected sectors due to the coronavirus pandemic. Multiple airlines resorted to salary cuts and layoffs last year to deal with losses.