New Delhi: The airlines to deploy full pre-Covid flight capacity in the domestic sector from today. Reportedly, passenger air services were suspended on March 25, 2020 due to the nationwide lockdown to check the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. The sector was reopened on May 25, 2020 with a limited capacity of 33 per cent.
Apart from strictly following Covid-19 protocols, a few other restrictions like minimum and maximum fare caps will continue to be applicable on domestic flights. Also, there will be no serving or selling of meals in less than 2-hours of the journey. Since the onset of the second Covid wave, meal service or sale is not allowed on domestic flights of below 2-hour duration.
As per recent order, the capacity will be raised to 100 per cent from 85 per cent, which was set by the Civil Aviation Ministry on September 18, 2021, up from 72.5 per cent allowed in August and 65 per cent in July.
“After a review of the current status of scheduled domestic operations vis-a-vis passenger demand for air travel in terms of the purpose specified in the initial order, it has been decided to restore scheduled domestic operations with effect from October 18, 2021 without any capacity restriction,” the Ministry of Civil Aviation said in an order issued on Tuesday.
On its part, IndiGo said: “We are pleased with the government’s decision to allow airlines to operate at full capacity without any restrictions from October 18. It is a welcome move, as we believe that with the recent pent-up demand, combined with the upcoming festive season, it will be great to operate flights on pre-pandemic levels. We are quite bullish about the overall growth and demand for domestic travel.”
Nishant Pitti, CEO and Co-Founder, EaseMyTrip, said: “The Indian travel sector has witnessed one of the highest contractions since the pandemic, and we believe that the lifting of capacity restrictions will have a positive impact on airline partners to rise from the challenges that they have been facing over the past year-and-a-half.”