India allows domestic flights to operate at full capacity amid demand surge
- Domestic airlines have been operating at 85% capacity since September 18 owing to coronavirus disease (Covid-19) measures.
Keeping in mind "passenger demand for air travel", the Union ministry of civil aviation on Tuesday announced that domestic flights will be allowed to operate at full capacity from October 18. Domestic airlines have been operating at 85% capacity since September 18 owing to coronavirus disease (Covid-19) measures.
The second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic had prompted the aviation ministry to limit the domestic flights to operate at 50% of their capacity between June 1 and July 5, which was relaxed to 65% up to August 12. The ministry further eased the limit to 72.5% between August 12 and September 18.
In the latest order, the ministry stated that "it has been decided to restore the scheduled domestic air operation with effect from October 18, 2021, without any capacity restriction". The decision was taken after a “review of the current status of scheduled domestic operations viz-a-viz passenger demand for air travel", according to the order.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) recently highlighted in a report that India’s domestic traffic reversed the trend, “as demand fell 44.8% in August, improved from a 58.9% decline in July versus July 2019, owing to positive trends in new cases and vaccination.”
A relatively lower number of daily new infections per capita has prompted the Central and state governments to ease restrictions in a bid to revive the economy. The massive nationwide vaccination drive has also helped to keep the fresh Covid-19 cases in check and let businesses reopen by following the standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued by the state governments.