India to see pre-Covid air traffic numbers by January 1: Minister Hardeep Puri
Air traffic and revenue has been drastically hit in India due to the coronavirus disease outbreak since March this year, when all the flights were grounded. The flights are still operating in a graded manner.Updated: Oct 08, 2020, 19:15 IST
Projecting a positive forecast for India’s civil aviation sector, Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Thursday said that with more than 1.5 lakh passengers travelling by air today and 1.2 crore domestic passengers since May 25, Indian skies can expect air travel numbers to reach pre-Covid numbers by January 1, 2021.
“Our skies are opening up further. Flying is considered as a safe & efficient mode of transport by people. More than 1.2 crore domestic passengers have flown since 25 May 2020. We had 1,56,565 passengers on 1525 flights today. We should touch pre-COVID numbers by New Year,” the Union minister for civil aviation said.
Air traffic and revenue has been drastically hit in India due to the coronavirus disease outbreak since March this year, when all the flights were grounded. The flights are still operating in a graded manner.
Puri added that airlines may be allowed to operate at 75 per cent of their pre-Covid operations on the domestic front, provided that the passenger numbers continue to show a healthy trend in the next 7-10 days. Indian airlines are currently operating up to 60 per cent of its pre-Covid capacity within the country.
The minister had also issued a stern warning to foreign airlines and their operations which will come at the expense of the Indian carriers.
“Indian carriers at a significant disadvantage resulting in inequitable distribution of traffic in favour of Lufthansa. The issue is not about allowing foreign carriers in or not. We are all for foreign carriers operating here. Make no mistake. But I think the time has come for the message to go out loud and clear that it will not be done at the expense of the Indian carriers,” Puri said while addressing the reporters.
The minister was referring to the move by Lufthansa which cancelled its flights operating between India and Germany for 21 days, starting September 30 after DGCA withdrew permissions for them, citing restrictions on Indian travelling to Germany.