Government allows more domestic flights; 19 lakh passengers fly in first month of schedule flights resumption


NEW DELHI: The first month of domestic flight resumption has seen almost 19 lakh people flying within the country. Schedule domestic flights were suspended on March 25 and allowed to resume at one-third level of the originally approved summer schedule from May 25. On Friday the aviation ministry allowed Indian carriers to deploy upto 45% of the schedule — this will mean more flights and more routes reopening up, depending on demand and sectors that airlines find financially viable to operate on.
Aviation minister H S Puri tweeted that from May 25 to June 25 saw 18.9 lakh passengers on about 21,300 flights. This translates into an average of about 90 passengers on a domestic flight.

Domestic flights had resumed at one-third of the original summer schedule level and will be gradually ramped up as demand increases and travel restrictions — flight handling at many airports has been capped by state governments and different quarantine requirements in different states — ease. Calendar years 2018 and 2019 had seen over a crore domestic flyers every month.
Minister Puri had recently said India used to have 3-3.5 lakh domestic passengers daily in pre-pandemic times. “We started with 30,000 passengers on May 25 and since then have seen a maximum of 72,000 domestic passengers on a day. I expect to reach half of the pre-corona level of 1.5-1.6 lakh domestic travellers before mid July,” he had recently.
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Delhi Airport, which remains the busiest Indian airport, says it saw about 30,000 domestic passengers daily after schedule flights were allowed which means about 9 lakh domestic flyers during the month. “Of them, one-third are travelling for visiting friends and relatives (VFR) and one-fourth are business travellers. Only 30-35% are those who had got stranded and were going back,” said Videh Kumar Jaipuriar, CEO of Delhi International Airport Ltd at a Boeing co-hosted webinar Thursday on restoring confidence in air travel.
The second busiest airport, Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA), says it has seen just over 2 lakh domestic passengers in the one month post resumption of schedule flights. “On May 25, CSMIA was permitted to operate 25 departures and 25 arrivals per day and starting June 16 the operations doubled to 100 commercial passenger flight movements which include 50 departures and 50 arrivals. Currently, the airport handles at an average 90 flights per day, catering to a total of 34 sectors in the country which are operated by 10 airlines. Amongst the destinations served, the airport saw the highest passenger load capacity on Mumbai – Delhi route, followed closely by Kolkata, Varanasi, and Patna, respectively,” a Mumbai airport official said.





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