Monday, October 18, 2021

Domestic airlines to run in full capacity from today

Domestic airlines will run flights at 100 percent capacity from Monday, as per the revised order from the Ministry of Civil Aviation announced last week.

"It has been decided to restore the scheduled domestic air operation with effect from October 18, 2021, without any capacity restriction," the Ministry had stated on October 12.

The Ministry revised the order taking into consideration the rise in demand for air travel among passengers.

In 2020, the government allowed airlines to resume scheduled domestic flights from May 25 after a two-month break at not more than 33 percent capacity of their pre-COVID domestic services. The restrictions were eased to 80 percent from December 2020 to June 1 this year.

Flight capacity restrictions were again imposed from June 1 in view of the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the country. The cap was brought down from 80 to 50 percent.

Domestic airlines' capacity had dropped to 50 percent between June 1 and July 5 and 65 percent between July 5 and August 12. Between August 12 and September 18, the capacity cap stood at 72.5 percent. Since September 18, carriers have been operating at 85 percent of their pre-COVID domestic services.

The government had suspended scheduled international flights from March 23, 2020. However, special flights were allowed to fly under the "air bubble" arrangement with 28 countries. According to this arrangement, airlines will operate limited flights within these countries with specific restrictions.

Domestic airlines will have to follow COVID-19 protocols while operating flights in full capacity. Caps like minimum and maximum fares will continue to be applicable on domestic flights. Flights with less than 2 hours journey will also not serve or sell meals.

Welcoming the move to revise passengers’ capacity, domestic carrier IndiGo said it would help airlines meet the pent-up demand in the upcoming festive season. "We are quite bullish about the overall growth and demand for domestic travel," IndiGo told news agency PTI.

Another domestic carrier, Vistara, told the news agency that the move would help airlines recover from the severe impact of the pandemic.


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