Domestic flights permitted to offer full capacity from October 18

The easing of the Covid-19 situation had pushed up demand for full capacity domestic flights, with tourism, business and allied sectors slowly inching back to normal.

Come October 18, and the domestic aviation sector will start operating at full capacities. As per a government order that has been made public today, domestic flights will be permitted to fly at full capacity.

This brings to an end the restrictions imposed on domestic airline companies owing to concerns of coronavirus spread if all seats are filled in every flight.

The easing of the Covid-19 situation had pushed up demand for air travel, with tourism, business and allied sectors slowly inching back to normal.

Growing demand for domestic flights acknowledged

The Ministry of Civil Aviation in its order acknowledged the growing demand for domestic flights and has given the nod for full capacity flights in the sector. The Ministry is believed to have done a complete review of the passenger demand for air travel and ordered the restoration of full capacity flights from October 18 onwards.

Over the past 17 months, the Covid situation had forced the aviation sector to lie low and operate only a few of the flights across destinations. The outbreak of Covid-19 and the unprecedented spread of the virus had made it imperative that preventive measures had to be put in place. This was brought into effect in May 2020, and the Indian skies had to be contended with less number of flights, that too with minimum capacity and maximum caution.

Easing of restrictions

Later on, the government had relaxed controls, allowing airline companies to operate flights at 80 per cent capacity, compared to the pre-virus days. This happened in December of last year.

However, with the second wave of the pandemic beginning to upset al predictions, flight capacity was pulled down again to 50 per cent on June 1. The second wave had been continuing till recently.

But with most states showing a decrease in Covid cases, on July 5, the ministry decided to allow 65 per cent capacity in flights. This was later pushed up to 72.5 per cent on August 12. Further easing of the pandemic situation permitted the government to think of allowing flight capacity to 85 per cent. This was done last month.

Now with the situation seemingly under control and a third wave threat almost off, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has decided on letting airlines fly at full capacity.

This comes as good news to frequent flyers, businesses and the travel industry stakeholders as air connectivity would now reach the pre-pandemic years.

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Sanjeev Ramachandran

A journalist with 23 years of experience, Sanjeev has worked with reputed media houses such as Business Standard, The New Indian Express, MSN India, PanAsiaBiz. Sanjeev can be reached at [email protected]
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