NEW DELHI :
Indian airlines will operate up to 4.38% lesser flights between 31 October and 26 March compared to the same period during 2019-2020, the Indian civil aviation regulator said on Thursday.
Domestic commercial airlines will operate 22,287 departures a week during the upcoming winter schedule, as compared to 23,308 departures per week during the same period two years ago, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said in a statement.
It must be noted that a capacity restriction imposed by thegovernment on domestic flights since May 2020, after a covid-19 pandemic induced lockdown, has been lifted in October 2021.
However, most airlines are yet to operate at their pre-covid level capacity as the domestic passenger traffic recovers slowly amid lower number of covid infections.
Domestic airlines recorded a steep fall in passenger traffic with the onset of the second covid wave before witnessing a recovery every month since June.
Among the carriers, SpiceJet Limited has reduced its departures per week by 30.61% during to upcoming winter schedule to 2,995 departures per week, from 4,316 departures per week two years ago.
Domestic market leader IndiGo has also reduced its departures per week by 0.65% to 10,243, while Air India Ltd has reduced its departures per week by 8.92% to 2,053.
Wadia Group-controlled GoFirst (earlier known as GoAir) has also reduced flight departures per week by 0.78% to 2,290 for the upcoming winter schedule, as compared to two years ago period.
Meanwhile, full-service carrier Vistara has increased its domestic departures per week by 21.73% to 1,675 during the upcoming winter schedule as compared to the 2019-20 period.
An industry expert told Mint that many airlines, which have been adversely impacted by the ongoing convid-19 pandemic, have rationalized their networks for the upcoming winter schedule by cutting down operations on loss-making routes.
“The Winter Schedule is effective from 31st October 2021 till 26th March 2022. It may be noted that 22,287 departures per week have been finalized to/from 108 airports,” DGCA said in the statement.
“Out of these 108 airports, Sindhudurg and Kushinagar are the new airports proposed by the scheduled airlines,” it added.
As things stand scheduled international flights remain suspended at least till October-end because of the pandemic, which is likely to be extended. Only flights under bilateral air bubbles, which is a mechanism to resume flights between India and other nations with preconditions are allowed to operate. India has bilateral air bubble agreements with 28 countries, including Bangladesh, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Maldives, the Netherlands, the UAE, the UK, and the US.
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