Saturday, July 25, 2020

DGCA extends domestic flight restrictions, fare brackets to November 24

New Delhi: The Centre has extended restrictions on domestic flights till November 24 from August 24 earlier. In a notification late Friday, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said that flight capacity curbs — as per which airlines are only allowed to deploy 45 per cent of the pre-COVID capacity on domestic routes — and fare brackets have been extended for three more months with a month left to go for the earlier deadline.

“The current situation with respect to coronavirus spread in the country warrants this (decision),” a senior government official told The Indian Express. The government had put in place these curbs on May 21, ahead of restarting domestic flight operations May 25 onwards, two months after they were fully prohibited. However, the restrictions notwithstanding, the Indian domestic aviation industry has not been able to get back on its feet completely in terms of demand for air travel.

In June, the first full month since domestic flights were allowed to resumed flying, only 19.84 lakh passengers travelled within the country, as per DGCA data. In June 2019, the number was 1.21 crore. Notably, for most part of last month, airlines were allowed to operate with 30-35 per cent of the total number of flights they operated prior to the COVID-19-related lockdown.
Airlines have attributed the poor air travel demand to passengers’ fear of contracting the virus onboard an aircraft and a flurry of quarantine rules and restrictions imposed by state governments.

Upon request from the West Bengal government, the Civil Aviation Ministry had earlier asked airlines to suspend flights from Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Nagpur and Ahmedabad due to high-prevalence of COVID-19 in these cities from July 6-19. However, this was further extended indefinitely.
25/07/20  Pranav Mukul/Indian Express
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