Wednesday, August 04, 2021

Scindia to review cap on capacity, airfares in meeting with top airline bosses on August 6

New Delhi: Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia would hold a crucial meeting on August 6 to consider airlines' demand to review the prevailing cap on capacity and airfares in view of improving Covid situation.

The members of the Civil Aviation Advisory Group including IndiGo co-founder Rahul Bhatia, SpiceJet Chairman Ajay Singh and GoAir Director Ness Wadia are scheduled to make a combined presentation on the two issues.

Days after taking charge of the Aviation Ministry, Scindia had formed an Advisory group of Airlines to advise the government for enhancing domestic and international connectivity, matters related to promotion of passenger and cargo services, manpower skilling and leasing and financing of aircraft among others. Two more such groups had been set up to cover other areas of aviation such as airports and MRO.

Sources told UNI that airlines would make case for easing both the rules while unanimity on the degree of relaxation is yet to arrive.

In a July 7, 2021 order, the Civil Aviation Ministry had increased the 50 per cent cap on airline capacity to 65 per cent due to a rise in demand for air travel.

"The government should try to bring back confidence by removing the restrictions. There is a sharp increase in demand for travel given the improved pandemic situation," an airline executive said on condition of anonymity.

In a written reply to a question, the Minister of State (MoS) for Aviation said that all aviation related activities have been under stress due to pandemic but various measures taken by the government to support the sector had resulted in domestic operations reaching about 50 per cent of the pre-Covid level.

In view of the pandemic, the domestic sector has been opened in a calibrated manner along with fare caps which are subject to Covid 19 situation and passenger demand for air travel.

"The situation would be reviewed as per the prevailing situation of the pandemic," the Minister said in response to a separate query.

During the pandemic, government prescribed fare bands to ensure that domestic airlines do not charge excessive fares and at the same time maintain the viability of air operations.

04/08/21 UNI

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