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Govt increases domestic air ticket prices after increasing flight capacity

Prime News, National, Aviation Industry, New Delhi, August 13:-Airlines can now operate a maximum of 72.5 per cent of their pre-Covid domestic flights instead of the 65 percent allowed till date, the Ministry of Civil Aviation stated. The carriers have been operating 65 percent of their pre-Covid domestic flights since July 5, according to the ministry’s order. Between June 1 and July 5, the cap was at 50 percent.

The ministry issued a fresh order on Thursday (August 12), wherein it modified the July 5 order stating that “65 percent capacity may be read as 72.5 percent capacity”. Thursday’s order also noted that the 72.5 percent cap will “remain in place until further order.”

Government, meanwhile, has also announced a price hike on domestic flights by at least 12.5 percent on both minimum and maximum domestic airfare. The government had on June 1, 2021, hiked domestic airfares by 15 percent, and before that also prices were hiked at least a couple of times.

The price hike is on the lower and upper cap that has been put in place to keep a check on abnormally high ticket prices due to increase in demand and limited flights. However, this is just a temporary limit put on airlines as the previous Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had informed.

With this price hike, the Delhi-Mumbai one-way minimum fare has increased by at least Rs 575, while the maximum airfare has been upped by Rs 1,625. Aviation companies are requesting govt to remove the fare cap on flights that was put during the pandemic.

As for the capacity allocation to flights, when the government had resumed the scheduled domestic flights on May 25 last year after a two-month break, the ministry had allowed the carriers to operate not more than 33 percent of their pre-Covid domestic services. The cap was gradually increased to 80 percent by December. The 80 percent cap remained in place till June 1.

The May 28 decision to bring down the cap from 80 to 50 percent from June 1 onwards was taken “in view of the sudden surge in the number of active COVID-19 cases across the country, decrease in passenger traffic and the passenger load (occupancy rate) factor”, the ministry had said. (NAV, Inputs: Agencies)

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