The Ministry for Civil Aviation said on Tuesday that the current restrictions imposed on the capacity (passenger carried) of domestic flights will be removed from October 18,2021.
Quote on Lifting of Restrictions
"After review of the current status of scheduled domestic operations viz-a-viz passenger demand for air travel...it has been decided to restore the scheduled domestic air operations with effect from 18.10.2021 without any capacity restriction," the ministry said in an order.
The government had capped the capacity of all domestic airlines in the country when the services were restarted after the COVID pandemic-induced suspension last year. Currently, airlines can operate a maximum of 85 per cent of their pre-Covid-19 domestic flights. But this restriction will be removed from October 18, 2021 after confirmation by the highest government body in this regard.
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 per cent of their pre-Covid-19 domestic services.
History of Flight Restriction on Domestic Aviation Capacity
The cap was gradually increased to up to 80 per cent by December last year. However, it was reduced to 50 per cent from June 1 this year in view of the deadly second wave of the pandemic in the country. However, as the number of cases started declining and travel restrictions were removed, the ministry gradually started increasing the cap. The country has also seen an increased demand for travel given the holiday season around the corner and wedding times.
While the cap was at 50 per cent between June 1 and July 5, it stood at 65 per cent between July 5 and August 12. It was then increased to 72.5 per cent before being further raised to the current 85 per cent.
Strict Adherence to COVID Protocols
The latest order also mentioned that the airlines and airport operators will have to ensure the government guidelines are being met to contain the spread of Covid-19 are strictly adhered to and Covid-19-appropriate behaviour is strictly enforced.