Airlines will be running domestic flights without any capacity restrictions starting Monday, according to the revised order by the Union ministry of civil aviation. The order was issued in view of the increase in “passengers’ demand for air travel,” the ministry stated. Since September 18, the carriers were operating at 85 per cent of capacity due to the Covid-19 restrictions.
The second wave of the Covid-19 restrictions had forced the airlines to limit domestic flight operations to 50% of their capacity in June. The limitation continued till July, after which it was increased to 65%. The ministry further eased the limit to 72.5% between August 12 and September 18.
The order to resume flights operation to 100% capacity was issued on October 12. “It has been decided to restore the scheduled domestic air operation with effect from October 18, 2021, without any capacity restriction,” the aviation ministry had stated. The decision was taken after a “review of the current status of scheduled domestic operations viz-a-viz passenger demand for air travel”, it also said in the notice.
The revision in passengers’ capacity has been welcomed by the major carriers of the country. “It is a welcome move as we believe that with 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, ” said IndiGo in an PTI report.
Another private carrier, Vistara said the decision will help in “accelerating recovery from the severe impacts of the pandemic as demand continues to grow, especially with the growing confidence in air travel and the much-awaited festive season,” news agency PTI reported quoting the spokesperson.