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Domestic flights can operate at full capacity from October 18, says Civil Aviation Ministry

The Ministry of Civil Aviation on Tuesday allowed all scheduled domestic flights to operate with full capacity from October 18.

India TV News Desk India TV News Desk
New Delhi Updated on: October 12, 2021 20:48 IST
Representational image.
Image Source : FILE PHOTO

Representational image.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation on Tuesday allowed all scheduled domestic flights to operate with full capacity from October 18. In order to follow Covid protocols, the number of passengers was capped by the aviation ministry, but as corona cases continue to reduce, restrictions have now been eased by the government.

The carriers have been operating 85 per cent of their pre-COVID domestic services since September 18, according to an order issued by the ministry.

The capacity cap stood at 72.5 per cent between August 12 and September 18, 65 per cent between July 5 and August 12 and 50 per cent between June 1 and July 5.

On October 9, the Indian carriers operated 2,340 domestic flights, which is 71.5 per cent of their total pre-COVID capacity.

The ministry stated in its order that "it has been decided to restore the scheduled domestic air operations with effect from October 18, 2021, without any capacity restriction".

The order noted that the decision was taken "after a review of the current status of scheduled domestic operations viz-a-viz passenger demand for air travel".

When the government resumed the scheduled domestic flights on May 25 last year after a two-month break, the ministry had allowed the carriers to operate not more than 33 per cent of their pre-Covid services.

The cap was gradually increased to 80 per cent by December 2020. The 80-per cent cap remained in place till June 1 this year.

Meanwhile, in the past few days, India's domestic air passenger traffic grew marginally 2-3 per cent at around 69 lakh in September as compared to around 67 lakh in August, credit ratings agency Icra said in a release on Wednesday.

The local carrier operated higher capacity at 54 per cent in September 2021 over the same month last year.

Compared y-o-y, air passenger traffic growth stood at around 74 per cent in the month under review over September 2020, it said.

Airlines witnessed around 61,100 departures in September as compared to 39,628 departures in the same month of 2020, it said, adding that on a sequential basis, the number of departures in the month gone by were higher by around 6 per cent, as Covid-19 infections demonstrated a downward trajectory.

"For September 2021, average daily departures were at around 2,100, significantly higher than the average daily departures of around 1,321 in September 2020, and higher than around 1,900 in August 2021, though they remained lower than around 2,200 in January 2021," said Suprio Banerjee, Vice President and Sector Head, Icra.

The average number of passengers per flight during September was 113, against an average of 117 passengers per flight in August.

Though the recovery continued in September, demand continues to be subdued from the corporate traveller segment as reflected by passenger traffic being lower by around 38 per cent in September compared to pre-Covid levels,  he said.

The Civil Aviation Ministry reduced the permissible capacity deployment to 50 per cent of pre-Covid levels, with effect from June 1, due to the resurgence of the second wave of the pandemic.

(With PTI inputs)

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