India raises cap on domestic flying

As the latest severe wave of COVID-19 recedes, Indian airlines are being allowed to add domestic capacity.

The Indian government has raised its cap on domestic airline operations, allowing Indian carriers to add back more capacity as demand increases. 

The India Ministry of Civil Aviation said it has increased its limit on domestic capacity for Indian carriers to 65% of pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels. This marks a significant increase from the previous level of 50%. The ministry’s move coincides with the easing of the latest wave of COVID-19 cases in India.

Indian authorities first imposed the domestic capacity limit in May 2020, when flights resumed following a temporary halt caused by the pandemic’s first wave. The level was initially set at 33% of pre-COVID levels for each carrier. The cap was progressively raised through 2020, reaching 80% by the end of last year.

However, the emergence of a devastating second wave of infections in India prompted the ministry to lower the cap back to 50% on May 28.

Some airlines, most notably market leader IndiGo, have been pushing for the caps to be removed. The Indian government has also imposed limitations on domestic air fares during the pandemic.

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