Domestic flights to remain at 80%, fare bands to be in force till May 31
Domestic flights at the moment have dipped to about 60% of pre-Covid level. (Representative image)
NEW DELHI: With domestic air travel declining sharply amid the ongoing surge in Covid cases, the government on Monday decided to retain the 80% cap on flights till May 31, 2021.
Additionally, it decided that domestic fare caps will also remain in force during this period.
Domestic flights at the moment have dipped to about 60% of pre-Covid level. With passenger numbers dwindling, airlines are now clubbing flights.
Average aircraft occupancy has come down to 55-60%, say airline officials.
Had Covid numbers not spiralled leading to constant changes in testing requirements by different states, the ministry was hoping to remove fare bands and capacity constraints for scheduled domestic flights from the summer schedule that came into force from March-end.
Airlines are currently required to sell at least 20% seats at fares below the mid-point of minimum and maximum fares.
Fare bands were set last May when scheduled domestic flights were allowed to resume partially. Since then, ATF prices have risen manifold.
The aviation ministry has classified domestic flights into seven categories based on flying time — starting at flights below 40 minutes and going up to those with flying time of 3-3.5 hours. It also sets their fare range from time to time.