Budget carrier IndiGo on January 9 said it is waiving off ticket re-scheduling fee for bookings till the end of this month.
The decision has been taken in view of the disruption caused by the highly contagious Omicron variant of COVID-19, the airlines said in a statement.
"Owing to the increasing number of Omicron infections, large numbers of IndiGo customers are changing their travel plans. In response to customer needs, IndiGo is waiving change fees and is offering free changes for all new and existing bookings made up to 31st January, for flights up to 31st March 2022," IndiGo said.
Due to the reduced demand, the airline said it would also be selectively withdrawing some of its flights from service.
"We anticipate that around 20 percent of our current scheduled operations will be withdrawn from service," it said.
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"Where possible, cancellations of flights will be done at least 72 hours in advance and customers will be moved to the next available flight and will also be able to change their travel through the use of Plan B on our website," the airlines noted.
"Since our call centre is currently handling a large volume of calls, we are encouraging our customers to use our digital channels where possible," the statement further added.
IndiGo's decision to cut down on scheduled flight operations comes amid a sudden dip in domestic air travel, which is attributed to the rapid spread of COVID-19 cases across the country.
The daily domestic passenger traffic on January 4 dropped to 2.85 lakh, as per the data shared by the civil aviation ministry. This was the first time in over two months when the daily passenger load dipped below the three lakh-mark.
Since November 6, the daily passenger load had remained above three lakh. As per the official numbers shared for November 2021, the overall passenger footfall as recorded as 57.06 lakh, which was 17 percent higher year-on-year.
The country's first Omicron case was detected on December 2. Within days, the daily infection count began soaring in metropolitan cities, with Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata reporting record spike in fresh COVID-19 cases.For air travel, a number of state governments have not only tightened the rules for international passengers, but have also made it mandatory for domestic travellers to produce double vaccination certificate or a negative RT-PCR test report.