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Airlines can operate domestic flights without any capacity restriction from today (October 18) onwards, the Ministry of Civil Aviation had announced last week. The ministry stated in its order that "it has been decided to restore the scheduled domestic air operations with effect from October 18, 2021, without any capacity restriction".

The order noted that the decision was taken "after a review of the current status of scheduled domestic operations viz-a-viz passenger demand for air travel".

The carriers have been operating 85 per cent of their pre-COVID domestic services since September 18, according to an order issued by the ministry.

Apart from strictly following Covid-19 protocols, a few other restrictions like minimum and maximum fare caps will continue to be applicable on domestic flights. Also, there will be no serving or selling of meals in less than 2-hours of the journey. Since the onset of the second Covid wave, meal service or sale is not allowed on domestic flights of below 2-hour duration.

The capacity cap stood at 72.5 per cent between August 12 and September 18, 65 per cent between July 5 and August 12 and 50 per cent between June 1 and July 5.

Scheduled international passenger flights have been suspended in India since March 23, 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, special flights have been permitted under "air bubble" arrangements that India has formed with approximately 28 countries.

Under an air bubble arrangement, airlines of one country are permitted to operate limited International passenger flights to the other's territory with specific restrictions.



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