Centre allows airlines to operate maximum of 65% pre-COVID domestic flights

New Delhi: Airlines can now operate a maximum of 65 percent of their pre-COVID domestic flights instead of the 50 percent allowed till date, the civil aviation ministry said on Monday.

The carriers have been operating only 50 percent of their pre-COVID domestic flights since 1 June in accordance with a 28 May order of the ministry. Before 1 June, the cap was at 80 percent.

The 28 May decision to bring down the cap from 80 to 50 percent was taken "in view of the sudden surge in the number of active COVID-19 cases across the country, decrease in passenger traffic and the passenger load (occupancy rate) factor", the ministry had said.

It issued a fresh order on Monday, wherein it modified the 28 May order stating that "50 percent capacity may be read as 65 percent capacity".

Monday's order also stated that the 65 percent cap will be applicable till "31 July, 2021 or until further orders, whichever is earlier".

When the government had resumed the scheduled domestic flights on 25 May last year after a two-month break, the ministry had allowed the carriers to operate not more than 33 percent of their pre-COVID domestic services.

The cap was gradually increased to 80 percent by December.