New Delhi: In a move that is likely to bring relief to passengers this festive season, the Government yesterday allowed airlines to operate 100 percent from Oct. 18.
This is for the first time the Government has lifted the cap on the number of flights airlines can operate since the resumption of domestic flights on May 25, 2020. Over the past 18 months, the Government has been regulating the number of flights airlines can operate in tandem with passenger demand by imposing a cap of 30 percent to 85 percent.
At present, airlines are allowed to operate 85 percent of the pre-COVID flight schedule approved by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
“After review of the current status of scheduled domestic operations, it has been decided to restore the scheduled domestic air operations with effect from Oct. 18, 2021 without any capacity restriction,” an order from the Ministry of Civil Aviation read.
Last weekend saw massive crowds at New Delhi and Mumbai. This compelled both airports to announce reopening of passenger terminal buildings which had remained shut.
On Oct. 10, domestic passenger numbers clocked at 3.04 lakh, crossing the 3 lakh per day mark for the first time since Feb. 28 this year, when 3.14 lakh passengers had travelled on domestic flights.
Industry executives have pointed out that the capacity restrictions were well past serving their purpose and this comes as a positive for the industry ahead of the festival season.
A cap on capacity amid rising demand led to airfares skyrocketing.
A Delhi-Bengaluru flight booked in the next three weeks will cost Rs. 12,900 to Rs. 14,900; Delhi-Patna flight booked in the next three weeks will cost Rs. 9,600 to Rs. 10,300 and a Chennai-Delhi flight booked in the same period will cost Rs. 13,700 to Rs. 14,700.
Airfares will come down after Deepavali festival on Nov. 4.