In what he admitted is the most "optimistic reading" of the aviation industry for any country, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said he expects India's domestic sector to reach pre-COVID-19 levels anytime between Diwali and the end of this year.
"We will get to 55 percent of the original summer schedule by mid-July....and then you have four-and-a-half months to Diwali," said the minister, before adding that the sector will reach its 2019-level by the end of this year.
Diwali, this year, falls on November 14.
At present, domestic operations - which resumed on May 25 - are running on one-third of the summer schedule. The Minister reiterated that by the time the domestic flights scale up to 55 percent, international flights will be reopened in some form or the other.