The Civil Aviation Ministry has said that the government will remove all restrictions on domestic flights capacity from October 18.
The decision has been taken in view of rise in demand, which specifically saw a surge during the weekend amidst ongoing festival season of Navratri.
The domestic air passenger traffic on October 9 stood at 304,020 passengers or at 76 percent of pre-COVID level and domestic flight departures stood at 2,340 or 81 percent of pre-COVID level. In fact, the domestic air traffic count continued to be on the rise on October 10 as well with 309,713 passengers on 2,376 flights.
However, the traffic fell to 265,905 passengers on 2,307 flights on October 11.
The domestic aviation capacity or the number of flights deployed by an airline had been restricted by the government since May 2020, when air travel was permitted after a two-month shutdown due to COVID-19.
This was initially done in view of demand uncertainty. Currently, the government has capped domestic aviation capacity at 85 percent. As for fares, fare bands continue to be applicable for a period of 15 days on a rolling basis.
“Reduction in fare cap roll over period from 30 days to 15 days is a move towards market driven pricing as applicable during the pre-Covid period, wherein the pricing was determined by the actual demand-supply dynamics and real passenger load factors,” ICRA had said on October 6.
Reacting to the announcement, IndiGo stated: "It is a welcome move as we believe that with recent pent-up demand combined with the upcoming festive season, it will be great to operate flights on pre-pandemic levels. We are quite bullish about the overall growth and demand for domestic travel."
Another private carrier, Vistara, also welcomed the decision. "Vistara welcomes the government's decision to remove the capacity cap. We believe that it will be helpful in accelerating recovery from the severe impacts of the pandemic as demand continues to grow, especially with the growing confidence in air travel and the much awaited festive season," a spokesperson of the airline said.
(Edited by : Aditi Gautam)
First Published: IST