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Indian airlines resumed domestic operations on 25 May,
Indian airlines resumed domestic operations on 25 May,

Govt allows airlines to operate at 60% capacity

  • The measure may, however, not bring much relief to carriers
  • Air traffic has picked up since May, but bookings are not strong enough for most carriers to utilize up to 60% of their capacity, said an official

New Delhi: Scheduled airlines in India will be able to sell seats up to 60% of an aircraft’s capacity on domestic flights, up from 45%, the civil aviation ministry said on Wednesday in a further easing of restrictions on the sector clobbered by the covid-19 pandemic.

The measure may, however, not bring much relief to carriers, most of which continue to operate at about a third of their capacity as air travel demand remains muted because of fears of contracting coronavirus and the collapse of business and leisure travel.

Indian airlines resumed domestic operations on 25 May, after being grounded for two months during a government-backed lockdown to contain the pandemic. At the time, airlines were allowed to operate only up to a third of their total capacity, with the cap later being increased to 45% and then to 60%.

Air traffic has picked up since May, but bookings are not strong enough for most carriers to utilize up to 60% of their capacity, said a senior official at a budget airline.

“We are hope bookings will pick up during the upcoming festive season," said the official on the condition of anonymity.

The number of passengers travelling daily on domestic flights has increased from about 40,000 in May to about 100,000 a day at present.

Meanwhile, the government has also extended suspension of regular scheduled international flights to and from India till 30 September. However, international dedicated cargo flights and special flights such as repatriation flights, are operating.

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