Airlines can operate maximum of 65% pre-Covid domestic flights: Govt

Airlines can now operate a maximum of 65 per cent of their pre-Covid domestic flights instead of the 50 per cent allowed to date, the civil aviation ministry said on Monday. The carriers have been operating only 50 per cent of their pre-Covid domestic flights since June 1 in accordance with a May 28 order of the ministry. Before June 1, the cap was at 80 per cent.

The May 28 decision to bring down the cap from 80 to 50 per cent was taken “in view of 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”, the ministry had said.

It issued a fresh order on Monday, wherein it modified the May 28 order stating that “50 per cent capacity may be read as 65 per cent capacity”.

Monday’s order also stated that the 65-per cent cap will be applicable till “July 31, 2021 or until further orders, whichever is earlier”.

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 domestic services.

The cap was gradually increased to 80 per cent by December.

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