National passenger carrier Air India said on Tuesday that it will introduce regular flights from Amritsar to Nanded in Maharashtra from November 10. According to the airline, the service will be operated on its A320Neo aircraft on every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
"This flight will fulfil the long standing demand of pilgrims, non-resident Indians and tourists from Europe, the US, the UK, Gulf nations and the business community from Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh," the airline said.
Nanded is an important pilgrimage destination for the Sikh community. Recently, the Ministry of Civil Aviation announced that Indian airlines can operate maximum 60 per cent of their pre-COVID domestic passenger flights till February 24 next year due to the prevailing coronavirus situation. The ministry had informed the airlines about the 60 per cent limit through an official order on September 2 but it had not told them the period for which the cap would remain in place.
On October 29, the ministry issued a new order clarifying that the September 2 order "shall remain in force until 2359 hrs on February 24, 2021 or until further orders" due to the "prevailing situation of COVID-19". On June 26, the ministry had allowed the airlines to operate a maximum of 45 per cent of their pre-COVID domestic flights.
The ministry had resumed domestic passenger services from May 25, after a gap of two months due to the coronavirus-triggered lockdown. However, the airlines were allowed to operate not more than 33 per cent of their pre-COVID domestic flights. Modifying its previous order of June 26 where it had put the 45 per cent limit on the number of domestic flights, the ministry issued an order on September 2 stating that, "45 per cent capacity may be read as 60 per cent capacity." Scheduled international passenger flights continue to remain suspended in the country since March 23 due to the pandemic.
However, special international flights have been operating under the Vande Bharat Mission since May and under bilateral air bubble pacts signed with various countries since July.
(With inputs from agencies)