The fare bands within which the airlines have to operate have been extended upto February 24, 2021 by the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA), the government said in an official communication on Thursday. These fare bands came into force with effect from May 21, 2020.
A statement by MoCA said that the daily passenger traffic had reached 2.05 lakh on November 1, 2020. When the domestic aviation opened in May 2020, the airlines were enabled to fly up to 33 percent of the normal capacity (as per summer schedule, 2020).
The Minister of Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri had informed the media of cap being extended last week while speaking on the issue of Air India’s disinvestment.
At that time, the average daily traffic was about 30,000. This cap was enhanced to 45 percent from June 26, 2020. This cap was further revised to 60 percent from September 2, 2020. At present the airlines can operate up to 60 percent of their capacity.
MoCA said it was monitoring the traffic everyday, and it is expected that the traffic would further pick up because of the festival season and as the passenger traffic increases, the upper cap would be revised to 70-75 percent of normal capacity in the coming days.
For the purpose of calculation, MoCA has categorised flights between cities that are under 40 minutes of flight time under section one, while those under 40-60 minutes are under section two.
Similarly, section three has destinations 60-90 minutes apart by flight time, section four comprises cities 90-120 minutes apart and section five consists of cities 120-150 minutes apart. Those stations having a flight time between 150-180 minutes and 180-210 minutes are designated as sections 6 and 7, respectively.
The base minimum airfare of domestic flights ranges from ₹2,000 to ₹6,500 going up to a maximum range of ₹6,000 to ₹18,600. Airlines have to make available 40% of total seats in an aircraft at less than the mid-point price between the highest and lowest fares.