According to the Civil Aviation Ministry’s latest order, domestic flights in India can now operate at up to 60 per cent of the pre-COVID-19 numbers until February 24, 2021. By Tanvi Jain
In September, the Centre had increased the limited domestic passenger flight operations' capacity to 60 per cent from the earlier 45 per cent. pic.twitter.com/Z7hpn48gyA
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Reiterating on its September 2 order, where it had mentioned about the cap but not about the time limit, the ministry issued a new order dated October 29, which said, “The September 2 order shall remain in force until 2359 hrs on February 24, 2021, or until further orders due to the prevailing situation of COVID-19” (as reported by the media).
Earlier on June 6, the ministry had permitted only 45 per cent of the pre-COVID-19 domestic flights to operate, and a month before that in May only 33 per cent were allowed. And now it stands at 60 per cent; the gradual increase in the limit has been done based on the situation of the ongoing pandemic.
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However, scheduled international flights will still remain suspended, barring those operating under the Government’s ongoing Vande Bharat Mission, and under the travel bubble that India has managed to form with 21 countries so far.
“We will comply with the government mandate and hope that the cap can be reviewed in coming weeks,” a Vistara spokesperson told IANS.
In fact, the airline is reportedly hoping to operate 100 per cent flights by April next year. “I personally think that we will hit the pre-COVID levels, in terms of capacity alone, somewhere around March or April of 2021. Again, it is going to be a function of how things progress through Diwali and the year-end period because that is going to be quite material. As long as we can manage that well, we see that confidence continuing. I think the numbers will come back,” Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) of Vistara, Vinod Kannan, said in a press conference as reported by Business Standard.