Government increases domestic flight capacity to 65% from 50%
The ministry of civil aviation (MoCA) increased the capacity of domestic flights to 65% from 50% on Monday. The order dated July 5 read, “After the review of the current status of scheduled domestic operations viz-a-viz passenger demand for air travel in terms of the purpose specified in previous order 01/2020 dated 25.05.2020… 50% capacity may be read as 65% capacity.”
The MoCA has increased the passenger capacity from July 5 which will be applicable up to July 31 or until further orders, whichever is earlier.
Domestic aviation operations continue with all Covid Protocols in place. Number of domestic passengers increases as flying emerges as a preferred, safe & time saving mode of transport. On 4 July 2021 - 1,74,905 passengers on 1,467 flights. Total flight movements: 2,938,” Civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri tweeted.
For the first time after May 2020, the government cut down domestic airlines capacity from 80% (of the summer schedule 2020) to 50% from June 1 (in an order dated May 28) to safeguard airlines’ viability battling weak finances in the aftermath of the sudden spike in Covid-19 cases across the country, decrease in passenger traffic and passenger load factor. The government had also increased the upper cap of airfare to go up by around 14% due to the rise in fuel prices.
The ministry’s previous order read, “In view of a sudden change in the number of Covid-19 cases, and decrease in the number of passengers and reduced occupancy, the existing capacity cap of 80 per cent is reduced to 50 per cent.”
On December 3 last year, the civil aviation ministry allowed the airlines to increase their flights capacity from 70% to 80% of the pre covid levels.
After complete flight operation suspension for two months, the government permitted domestic flights from May 25, 2020, with 33% capacity of their pre covid levels which was then increased to 45% in June and so on. However, passenger traffic started to fall from March 2021 due to which the airlines approached the government to decrease the seating capacity from 80% to 60%.