Home / News / India /  Domestic air passenger numbers growing steadily towards pre-COVID level: Puri

The number of domestic air passengers is growing steadily towards pre-COVID levels, civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Thursday. "Number of domestic passengers grows steadily towards pre-COVID figures. 2,35,564 passengers on 2,238 flights, total flight movements 4,480, total footfalls at airports 4,69,871," Puri wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.

Coronavirus has severely affected the aviation industry. To curb the COVID-19 spread in the country, the central government suspended domestic flights in March. After a gap of two months, the domestic flight operations resumed gradually on 25 May following the stringent measures.

The civil aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) earlier extended the suspension of all international flight operations in the country till 31 January. However, the restrictions was not be applicable on international air cargo operations and flights specially approved by DGCA.

To bring back the stranded Indians from across the world, the Central government started Vande Bharat Mission on 6 May. Air India and several other private domestic airlines IndiGo andSpiceJet have been operating flights under Vande Bharat Mission since then. Over 44.7 lakh have returned to India from different countries under the mission, the civil aviation minister said. The phase 9 of the Vande Bharat Mission started on 1 January, said

"The phase nine of the Vande Bharat Mission has been made operational since January 1 - this phase would involve operating 1,495 flights from 24 countries to facilitate the return of an estimate 2.8 lakh people," the civil aviation minister said.

"As of January 6, 261 of these flights have been operated and these flights have facilitated the return of 49,000 people from 19 countries. This brings the total number of people who have been facilitated through the different modes of this mission — which is the world's largest repatriation exercise —the number of people who have come back under this mission are more than 44.7 lakhs," he added.

India temporarily suspended its Vande Bharat flights from the United Kingdom due to the emergence of the new strain of coronavirus, said the ministry of external affairs (MEA) in late December.

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