Airlines in India can operate domestic flights without any capacity restriction from October 18 onwards, the Ministry of Civil Aviation announced, keeping in mind the “passenger demand for air travel”. The carriers have been operating 85 per cent of their pre-Covid domestic services since September 18, according to an order issued by the ministry.
The capacity cap stood at 72.5 per cent between August 12 and September 18, 65 per cent between July 5 and August 12 and 50 per cent between June 1 and July 5.
On October 9, the Indian carriers operated 2,340 domestic flights, which is 71.5 per cent of their total pre-Covid capacity.
The ministry stated in its order that “it has been decided to restore the scheduled domestic air operations with effect from October 18, 2021, without any capacity restriction”. The order noted that the decision was taken “after a review of the current status of scheduled domestic operations viz-a-viz passenger demand for air travel”.
Reacting to the announcement, India’s largest carrier IndiGo stated: “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.” Another private carrier, Vistara, also welcomed the decision.
“Vistara welcomes the government’s decision to remove the capacity cap. We believe that it will be helpful 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,” a spokesperson of the airline said.