The civil aviation ministry on Friday extended the restrictions on domestic flights till November 24 in the view of the coronavirus pandemic.
A notification by the ministry issued in the evening also said that domestic airfare cap, too, will remain in place till November 24 or until further orders.
Domestic flights were suspended on March 25 as the government announced a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the disease. Union aviation minister Hardeep Puri had earlier this month said that he hoped that the number of domestic flights will reach 55 – 60 percent of the pre-coronavirus levels by Diwali this year.
He had also noted a continous improvement in the domestic air traffic while stating that it had more than doubled by early July from the 30,000 fliers, who boarded flights on May 25, when phased reopening of the sector began after two months of suspension.
The domestic aviation industry is facing financial losses as they are operating at limited capacity with fares capped for different sectors. The poor load factor has also impacted the industry’s capacity to exploit their allowed quota of flights.
Counry’s prominent private carrier IndiGo has decided to lay off 10% of its employees and a global aviation consultancy, CAPA, has predicted that a couple of Indian airlines may go out of business due to the current financial pressure. According to ministry data, a total of 1,613 domestic flights operated on July 22 carrying 1,23,475 passengers. (Agencies )