Government allows airlines to add flights to up to 70% of pre-COVID

NEW DELHI: The government today allowed airlines to increase the total number of flights to up to 70% of the pre-COVID levels, increasing it from up to 60% allowed till date. This would be the fourth time that the government has allowed airlines to expand capacity since the time flight services were restarted in May this year.

In an order, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation has today said that the airlines are allowed to increase the total number of domestic flights to up to 70% – airlines were operating over 2,500 domestic flights daily before airlines were grounded due to a lockdown announced by the Modi government.

This order would come as a respite for airlines, which are already registering higher loads on the back of increase in travel on back of festive travel.

Industry insiders said that there was an increase in demand for travel during the month of October and November is also encouraging due to Diwali.

Airlines, which were grounded due to the lockdown during the months of April and May, were allowed to restart operations from May 25 in a calibrated manner. The airlines were, initially, allowed to operate only 33% of pre-COVID flights, which was increased to 45% and then to 60% during the first week of September.

Earlier the government had announced to no increase the limit of flights allowed till February but later decided to increase it to 70% as the demand is set to rise during the festive season and a large number of airlines had reached the 60% flight capacity levels.

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The government expects the total number of daily departures to reach pre-COVOD levels by the end of this year, which seems unlikely. Airlines, however, say that they are seeing a surge in demand due to the festive season as well as people travelling for business returning to planes.

During the current month, airlines saw an increase in travel during long weekends and also due to the festive season.



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