The Civil Aviation Ministry on Thursday announced that it is going to continue the cap on the number of domestic flights that Indian airlines are permitted to operate. Extending the cap, the ministry said that compared to their pre-COVID levels, only 80 percent of domestic flights will be allowed to operate till March 31 or till the summer schedule begins.
The ministry had set the 80 per cent limit on December 3, 2020, without specifying till what date it would remain in place.
The summer schedule begins at the end of March for all the airlines. Aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) approves both the schedules - summer and winter - of all the airlines.
"As per the prevailing situation of COVID-19, the central government...directs the order dated December 3, 2020, shall remain in force till 2359 hrs on March 31, 2021 or till the date of commencement of summer schedule 2021, whichever is earlier or until further orders," the ministry's order said.
The ministry had resumed scheduled domestic passenger services from May 25, 2020, after a gap of two months due to the coronavirus lockdown. However, the airlines were allowed to operate not more than 33 per cent of their pre-COVID domestic flights.
On June 26, this was increased to 45 per cent and on September 2, it was further increased to 60 per cent. On November 11, it was increased to 70 per cent. On December, it was increased to 80 per cent.
Scheduled international passenger traffic continues to remain suspended in India since March 23, 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, special international flights have been operating since July 2020 under air bubble arrangements formed with various countries.
(With PTI inputs.)