The Ministry of Civil Aviation has announced that airlines can now operate at a maximum of 85% of their pre-Covid domestic flights instead of the 72.5% allowed to date.
Prior to this, the carriers have been operating 72.5% of their pre-Covid domestic flights since August 12. This was the previous limit set by the ministry. Moreover, between July 5 and August 12, the cap stood at 65% between July 5 and August 12 till date. Meanwhile, the cap was at 50% between June 1 and July 5.
The ministry issued a fresh order on Saturday, in which it modified the August 12 order. It has thus stated that “72.5% capacity may be read as 85% capacity”.
In addition, Saturday’s order also noted that the 72.5% cap will remain in place “until further order”.
Significantly, the government had resumed the scheduled domestic flights on May 25 last year after a two-month break. At that time, the ministry had allowed the carriers to operate not more than 33% of their pre-Covid domestic services. Furthermore, the cap gradually increased to 80% by December, and stayed that way till June 1.
The ministry took the decision to bring down the cap from 80 to 50% from June 1 onwards due to the following.”The decision is in view of the sudden surge in the number of active COVID-19 cases across the country, decrease in passenger traffic, and the passenger load (occupancy rate) factor”, the ministry had said.
Additionally, shares of Indian airlines InterGlobe Aviation and SpiceJet have seen a surge. This is because passenger growth jumped 136.6% last month as the government started to ease COVID-related travel restrictions.