Covid-19 crisis easing for Indian airlines as govt allows capacity hike to 80%

This will be the fifth time that the Indian government has allowed the airlines to expand capacity since flight services were restarted in May this year

Covid-19 crisis easing for Indian airlines as govt allows capacity hike to 80%
Planes parked at the Delhi airport. Image courtesy: Twitter

Opening Indian skies for more air passengers, the ministry of civil aviation (MoCA) on December 3 allowed airlines to operate 80% of pre-Covid flights. 

Now, scheduled domestic airlines in India will be able to sell seats up to 80% of their aircraft’s capacity. They were currently operating at 70% of their capacity. 

Announcing the easing of restrictions for the aviation sector, civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri wrote on Twitter, "Domestic operations recommenced with 30K passengers on 25 May & have now touched a high of 2.52 lakhs on 30 Nov 2020. The aviation ministry (@MoCA_GoI) is now allowing domestic carriers to increase their operations from existing 70% to 80% of pre-Covid approved capacity.” 

Giving permission to allow 80% flights will give a significant boost to the ailing aviation sector. The move will give a push to the airlines which are looking to increase their capacity and number of flights.

This will be the fifth time that the government has allowed the airlines to expand capacity since flight services were restarted in May this year.

Also read: Covid-bitten Indian aviation punches back, but still quite shaky

After being grounded for two months as a result of the nationwide lockdown and resultant air travel ban imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus, airlines in India started staggered operations on May 25. Since then, the volume of air traffic has gradually gone up. 

According to a tweet by Puri, on December 2, domestic airports handled 2,32,364 departing passengers on 2,040 flights, while 2,34,874 passengers arrived on 2,042 flights. This took the total footfall at airports to 4,67,238 for the day.  

Also read: Indian aviation inches towards pre-covid normalcy with baggage policy easing

Meanwhile, international flights to and from India remain suspended till December 31, extending an eight-month halt on scheduled commercial overseas flights that was supposed to end on November 30.