Home » Govt allows airlines to raise flight operations capacity to 70%

Govt allows airlines to raise flight operations capacity to 70%

by Raju Vernekar
0 comment 3 minutes read

By Raju Vernekar
Mumbai, Nov 12:

As Covid-19 cases have started to decline across the country, the Union Civil Aviation Ministry on Wednesday allowed airlines to extend their operation to 70% of their capacity, which were running at 60% capacity earlier. 
“Domestic operations recommenced with 30,000 passengers on 25 May and have reached 2.06 lakhs on 8 November 2020. The Ministry of Civil Aviation is now allowing domestic carriers to increase their operations from existing 60% to 70% of the pre-Covid approved capacity,” said Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Twitter. 
After being grounded for two months due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Indian airlines resumed domestic operations on 25 May, 2020. At the time, airlines were allowed to operate only up to a third of their total capacity, with the cap later being increased to 45% and then to 60%. Since May, air traffic has picked up, however due to the still prevailing fear of contracting Covid-19, the bookings are still low.  
In the meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Ministry has extended the ban on scheduled international commercial flights till 30 November. While this has been done in line with the extension of last month’s unlock guidelines, it means that those wanting to travel into India from abroad or vice-versa will have to depend on the repatriation flights under the Vande Bharat Mission, or the air bubble arrangements that India enters with other countries. 
The government has stated that the resumption of regular international operations will depend on the nature of the COVID-19…..something that will decide India’s acceptability to other jurisdictions. Given that there is still a threat of transmission through international travel, regular flight operations are not being given a green light.  
At present, those wanting to travel internationally will have to depend on air bubble arrangements India enters into. As of now, India has entered air bubble or transport corridor arrangements with 19 countries-Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Bhutan, Canada, France, Germany, Iraq, Japan, Kenya, Maldives, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, the UAE, the UK, Ukraine and the US. In addition, Vande Bharat flights to several countries are being operated. According to industry sources, the regular commercial operations on international sectors are expected to remain suspended till as late as March 2021. 
In another development, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has released a new set of guidelines for international arrivals due to the spike in COVID-19 cases in Europe. The new guidelines state that travellers need not require to undergo institutional or home quarantine if they are able to submit a negative RT-PCR report conducted within 72 hours. The circular stated that the incoming passengers should also give an undertaking on the portal or otherwise to the Union Civil Aviation Ministry, through concerned airlines before they are allowed to undertake the journey that they would abide by the decision of the appropriate government authority to undergo facility/home quarantine/ self-monitoring of their health for 14 days, or as warranted. Those who want to get exempted from quarantine can submit a self-declaration form online, 72 hours before their flight.  
The people who could not undergo RT-PCR test done before their departure and wishing to seek exemption from institutional quarantine, can do so by availing the facility at the airport and undergo the test. Airports including Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, and Cochin have these provisions available. 
For international passengers, the case will not be the same. One needs to submit a negative COVID-19 certification, and if the traveller does not opt for RT-PCR test at the airport, or arrive at an airport where this facility is not available, they will have to undergo a mandatory seven days institutional quarantine, and after that a seven day home quarantine as well.

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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