Friday, June 19, 2020

Indigo Aims to Operate Flights at 70 Percent Capacity By Year-End Amid Covid-19 Crisis

India's largest airline IndiGo operated around 1,500 daily flights in the pre-COVID era. Around 20-25% of these flights were on international routes while the remaining operated domestically.

The Centre resumed domestic passenger flights from May 25 after a gap of two months amid the coronavirus pandemic. However, it allowed airlines to operate only 33% of their pre-COVID flights and imposed lower limits and upper limits on airfares as per the flight durations.

Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had on May 21 said that the limit on airfares will be in place till August 24.

Dutta said, "We are at 30% (of pre-COVID traffic) now. We would like the government to take it to 50%. We will pause and see what happens. Because the traffic has to be profitable otherwise it is not worth it. And at that point, we would like to take it to 70% by the end of the calendar year."

"I think Mr Puri is talking about opening international traffic in July, and I think that is a good idea, and he should follow that...I think that the lockdown needs to be eased," he added.

Puri had said on June 7 that India will take a decision on resumption of international passenger flights as soon as countries ease restrictions on entry of foreign nationals.

On fare limits imposed by the government for domestic flights, Dutta said, "It is good for the government to try different things under this crisis because no one knows what the real answer is. So it is good to do a lockdown, it is good to set up a 30% capacity, it is good to put a fare cap of some kind just to see all this works out until more data becomes available."

"Now that we have seen all this, we need to move to the next step. We need to ease the lockdown, take the 30% up to 50%. The government was afraid that there might be some huge spike in fares and that has not happened. They have promised to take it off (fare limit) in August and I hope they will do that," Dutta noted.
18/06/20 PTI/News18
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