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NEW DELHI : New Delhi: Indian airlines flew about 5.6% more domestic passengers in January than in the previous month as travellers turned more confident with the pandemic waning across India.

As many as 7.73 million passengers travelled by air in January, up from 7.33 million in December, data from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) published on Thursday showed. However, this is still 39.50% below the numbers of January 2020.

DGCA has allowed airlines to sell seats up to 80% of an airline’s pre-covid capacity on domestic flights since December. It started gradually easing curbs on seat capacity from 25 May after a two-month ban on domestic flights. Scheduled international commercial flights, however, remain suspended, at least till 28 February. The restriction does not apply to international all-cargo flights, those under bilateral air bubble agreements, and those specifically approved by the aviation regulator.

The passenger load factor (PLF) of major scheduled commercial airlines was 64-76% in January, around the same levels recorded in the previous month but way below the 78-91% in the same period of 2020. PLF measures capacity utilization of transport services, including airlines.

In January, IndiGo had a 54.3% market share and 69.3% PLF. It carried 4.20 million passengers. Air India’s domestic load factor was at 66.2%, with a market share of 10.3%. The national carrier ferried 797,000 passengers.

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