Airlines can now operate a maximum of 72.5% of their pre-COVID-19 domestic flights instead of the 65% allowed till date, the Ministry of Civil Aviation stated on Thursday. The carriers have been operating 65% of their pre-Covid domestic flights since July 5 according to the ministry's order.
Between June 1 and July 5, the cap was at 50%. The ministry issued a fresh order on Thursday, wherein it modified the July 5 order stating that "65% capacity may be read as 72.5% capacity".Thursday's order also noted that the 72.5% cap will "remain in place until further orders."
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% of their pre-COVID-19 domestic services. The cap was gradually increased to 80% by December. The 80% cap remained in place till June 1. The May 28 decision to bring down the cap from 80% to 50% from June 1 onwards 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.
Meanwhile, earlier this week, aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), asked airlines to ensure that the airfares on metasearch engine websites are not higher than the ones displayed on the carriers' websites. While there have been lower and upper limits on all domestic airfares in India since May 25 last year, no such limits have been imposed on international airfares.
International passenger flights have been suspended in India since March 23 last year due to the coronavirus, but limited special international passenger flights have been operating since July 2020 under air bubble arrangements between India and various other countries.