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Domestic flights to operate at full capacity from October 18: Government

There will be no capacity restrictions and airlines will be allowed to not just return to pre-pandemic levels but go beyond that as well depending on demand, the Civil Aviation Ministry said.

Domestic flights to operate at full capacity from October 18: Government-dnm
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New Delhi, First Published Oct 12, 2021, 5:05 PM IST
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The Ministry of Civil Aviation on Tuesday permitted domestic flights to operate at full capacity from October 18.

There will be no capacity restrictions and airlines will be allowed to not just return to pre-pandemic levels but go beyond that as well depending on demand, the Civil Aviation Ministry said.

Presently, there is a cap on domestic flight capacity at 85%. The government’s capacity caps on the airline sector have been in place for nearly 17 months now, as they were first imposed in May 2020, following the outbreak of Covid-19.

An order from the Civil Aviation Ministry stated that "after review of the current status of Scheduled Domestic Operations viz-a-viz passenger demand for air travel", the ministry has "decided to restore all scheduled domestic operations with effect from 18-10-2021 without any capacity restriction".

"The airlines/airport operators shall, however, ensure that the guidelines to contain the spread of Covid are strictly adhered to and Covid appropriate behaviour is strictly enforced by them during the travel," the statement added.

Meanwhile, in the past few days, India's domestic air passenger traffic grew marginally 2-3% at around 69 lakh in September as compared to around 67 lakh in August, credit ratings agency ICRA said in a release on Wednesday.

The local carrier operated higher capacity at 54% in September 2021 over the same month last year.

Airlines witnessed around 61,100 departures in September as compared to 39,628 departures in the same month of 2020, it said, adding that on a sequential basis, the number of departures in the month gone by were higher by around 6 per cent, as Covid-19 infections demonstrated a downward trajectory.

From next week, the restrictions will be relaxed, and domestic flights can operate at full capacity.

International flights are being operated under air bubbles and Vande Bharat Mission.

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