New Delhi: The government today said that they are likely to increase the total number of domestic flights allowed to 75% of pre-COVID levels, as it expects passenger numbers to increase due to the festive and the holiday season.

“(The) Ministry of Civil Aviation is monitoring the traffic every day, and it is expected that the traffic would further pick up because of the festival season and as the passenger traffic increases, the upper cap would be revised to 70-75% of normal capacity in the coming days,” the ministry said in statement to the press.

This is a change in stance as the government has recently said that they would want airlines to operate up to 60% of pre-COVID flights till February-end. Indian airlines operated over 2,500 flights daily before COVID and lockdown led to grounding of flights.

When domestic aviation opened in May 2020, airlines were enabled to fly up to 33% of the normal capacity (as per summer schedule, 2020). At that time, the average daily traffic was about 30,000. This cap was enhanced to 45% w.e.f. June 26, 2020. This cap was further revised to 60% September 6, 2020. At present, airlines can operate up to 60% of their capacity.

The government also said that they have increased the fare regulation norms for domestic for three months till February-end.

“The fare bands within which the airlines have to operate have been extended up to 24th February, 2021 by the Ministry of Civil Aviation. These fare bands came into force with effect from 21st May, 2020,” read the statement.

After airline operations resumed from May 25, the government regulated minimum and maximum fares on routes. The government also said that the daily passenger traffic has reached 2.05 lakh on November 1, 2020.

News Source: Livemint


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