Restrictions on domestic flight capacity to be withdrawn from October 18: Government

“The decision to relax the norms was made after examining the current air travel demand,” says the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

Domestic flights will be permitted to run at total capacity from October 18, the government announced in an order issued on October 12. The decision to relax the norms was made after examining the current air travel demand, the Ministry of Civil Aviation said.

“After review of the current status of Scheduled Domestic Operations viz-a-viz passenger demand for air travel”, it has been decided to “restore the scheduled domestic air operations with effect from 18-10-2021 without any capacity restriction,” the ministry stated.

Capacity caps indicate the number of flights or departures that an airline can request as a percentage of a schedule during a season. The government’s capacity caps on the airline division have been set for almost 17 months now, as they were first forced in May 2020, after the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus.

Currently, the government permits domestic carriers to function at 85 per cent of their pre-pandemic capacities. The flight capacity, which was rigorously decreased following the COVID-19 pandemic, grew to 80 per cent last December. However, it was again reduced to 50 per cent on June 1 due to the second wave of COVID-19.

On July 5, the capacity was expanded to 65 per cent and was further increased to 72.5 per cent on August 12.

The last higher update was done on September 18, when the capacity was grown to 85 per cent.
The decision to raise the constraint arrives days after the credit rating agency ICRA said domestic air passenger traffic rose by 2-3 per cent at around 69 lakh in September compared to about 67 lakh in August.

Airlines observed around 61,100 departures in September as compared to 39,628 departures in the same month of 2020. It added that the number of departures in the month gone by were regularly higher by around 6 per cent, as COVID-19 infections exhibited a downward trajectory.

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