Thursday, January 21, 2021

Centre mulls permitting domestic airlines to operate at full capacity: Report

The government and airlines are discussing the possibility of the latter operating their domestic services at full capacity.

However, airlines have requested the government to delay the permit since they will not be able to operate any more capacity profitably, Business Standard reported. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has currently permitted carriers to run domestic flights at 80 percent capacity, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The government intends to take things back to normalcy and that's why it is seeking suggestions to remove the cap on capacity from the middle of January. A decision will be taken soon," an official told the publication.

All airlines, except IndiGo, have asked the government to postpone such a decision till March, since forward-booking for the next three months is weak, the report said.

Moneycontrol could not independently verify the story.

Domestic flight operations had resumed on May 25, 2020, after a gap of two months due to COVID-induced travel restrictions. The Centre had initially allowed airlines to operate at 33 percent capacity, which was subsequently increased in a staggered manner.

According to DGCA data, SpiceJet’s passenger load factor (PLF) was 78 percent in December 2020, while IndiGo's was 71.5 percent. Air India and Vistara recorded PLF of 66.9 percent and 66.8 percent respectively.


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