Scheduled airlines in India will be able to operate up to 85% of their pre-covid capacity on domestic flights, up from 72.5%, the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) said in a circular on Saturday. This announcement follows a dip in the number of covid cases in the country.
In an official notification, the ministry said the decision was taken after a review of the current status of scheduled domestic operations viz-a-viz passenger demand for air travel.
“After review of the current status of scheduled domestic operations viz-a-viz passenger demand for air travel in terms of the purpose specified in the initial order dated May 21, 2020, condition laid down in para 2 of the order dated May 21, 2020, as last amended on dated August 12, 2021, is further modified as under: 72.5 per cent capacity may be read as 85 per cent capacity,” the order said.
The ministry said the new order will take effect from the date of issue and will be applicable until further order.
After a complete ban scheduled domestic flights during the lockdown last year, the operations started on May 25, 2020, after a two-month gap with a capacity of 33%.
Air traffic picked after lockdown was lifted in May 2020, and rose every month till March 2021 before the second wave of covid-19 hit the country. During May, the government set a cap stating that India will be able to sell seats up to 50% of their total capacity on domestic flights citing high number of covid-19 infections and as travel demand fell during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Domestic air passenger traffic saw significant growth last month with the easing of lockdown restrictions following the decline in covid-19 cases, which gave confidence to more people to travel by air.
Around 6.7 million passengers took to the skies in August, compared to 5.01 million in July, according to latest data from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).