The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has approved 12,983 weekly domestic flights of airlines for the winter schedule that began on October 25 and will be in force till March 27, 2021.
In the 2019 winter schedule, DGCA had approved 23,307 weekly domestic flights. This would be down 44.3 percent. The weekly domestic flights cover 95 airports in winter 2020-21 schedule.
DGCA approved 6,006 weekly domestic flights of IndiGo for this year’s winter schedule. IndiGo is the country’s largest carrier. SpiceJet and GoAir have got 1,957 weekly domestic flights and 1,203 weekly domestic flights approved, the regulator said.
Currently, airlines in India are allowed to operate a maximum 60 percent of pre-COVID weekly domestic flights.
In comparison to last year’s winter schedule, when 23,307 weekly domestic services were approved by the DGCA, this year’s winter schedule has got just 55.7 per cent (12,983 flights) of those flights approved, according to the aviation regulator.
These 55.7 percent flights will be operating from 95 Indian airports between October 25 and March 27, 2021, the DGCA said.
India had resumed scheduled domestic flights on May 25 after a gap of two months due to the coronavirus pandemic. At that time, airlines were permitted to operate just 33 percent of their pre-COVID domestic flights. This figure was gradually increased in the later months.
The cap on flights is likely to be raised to 75% soon as air travel is showing signs of revival. As that happens, the domestic schedule will keep getting enhanced, meaning there will be more flights.
The schedule, approved with the current cap of 60 percent, has seen maximum drop in weekly domestic flights of SpiceJet — 1,957, down 55 percent from 4,316 in the last winter schedule. This is followed by Air India — 1,126, down 50 percent from last winter’s 2,254; GoAir — 1,203, down 48 percent from 2,308; IndiGo — 6,006, down 42 percent from 10,310.