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Govt increases domestic flight capacity to 85% of pre-COVID levels with immediate effect

The aviation ministry has also revised the timeline for fare bands on airline ticket prices, with the bands to now be rolled over in 15 days instead of 30 days at present.

September 19, 2021 / 08:13 AM IST

Domestic carriers can now operate flights at 85 percent of pre-Covid levels, up from 72.5 percent at present, the Ministry of Civil Aviation said in a circular issued on September 18.

The flight capacity, which was curtailed following the onset of coronavirus pandemic, was increased to 80 percent in December last year. However, it was reduced again, and brought down to 50 percent on June 1, due to the second wave of COVID-19.

On July 5, the capacity was increased to 65 percent, and was further raised to 72.5 percent on August 12. The fresh circular marks the third consecutive upward revision.

The government has been reviewing the cap on domestic flight operation after taking the demand into consideration.

The aviation ministry has also revised the timeline for fare bands on airline ticket prices, with the bands to now be rolled over in 15 days instead of 30 days at present.

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When the government had 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 percent of their pre-Covid domestic services.

The cap was gradually increased to 80 percent by December. The 80 percent cap remained in place till June 1, but was subsequently lowered in view of the second COVID-19 wave.

The ministry had cited the decision behind reducing the domestic flight capacity to 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".

With PTI inputs
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