The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has approved 12,983 domestic flights for the winter schedule, 44 per cent lower than the number of domestic weekly flights during the last winter schedule.
The winter schedule begins on Sunday, October 25 and would go on till March 27. During the previous winter schedule, a total of 23,307 flights were allowed in a week.
Indigo will fly 6,006 flights per week and Spicejet will fly 1,957 flights as per the schedule. GoAir and Air India respectively will fly 1,203 and 1,126 domestic flights in a week during the period, respectively.
Currently, airlines in India are allowed to operate a maximum 60 per cent of pre-Covid weekly domestic flights.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the scheduled domestic operations were suspended from March 25 till May 25, 2020 and later resumed on May 25.
Ahead of this, Aviation Ministry announced that airlines may be permitted to operate maximum 75 per cent of their pre-COVID scheduled domestic flights if the passenger numbers continue to remain healthy during the next 7-10 days. The government on September 2 had said Indian airlines can operate up to 60 per cent of their pre-COVID services within the country.
On June 26, the Ministry of Civil Aviation had allowed the airlines to operate a maximum of 45 per cent of their pre-COVID domestic flights. The ministry had restarted 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 at that time. "Our internal thinking is that we will watch it for another week or 10 days….If the figures (of passengers travelling) continue to be healthy, we would open domestic civil aviation to 75 per cent of the pre-COVID levels," Puri said at a press conference on Thursday.