Indian airlines have cut back on seat capacity to curb the spread of the virus. Several countries have banned flights from India.
Earlier the ban on international commercial passenger flights was also extended by one month by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Friday, until May 31, 2021.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has also extended fare capping on domestic flights. The aviation authority has also limited the flight capacity of domestic flights at 80% of pre -Covid levels till May 31.
Commercial Passenger Flight Ticket Sales Dropped
According to an Aviation Ministry survey, the regular domestic passenger count has dropped below 1 lakh for the first time in over six months.
Airlines have reduced their flight schedules and frequencies around common routes in response to low passenger numbers.
In April 2021, commercial passenger flight ticket sales fell by nearly 30%. Because of their reach, the situation for small carriers is even worse than it is for big players like Air India.
Because of its enlarged industry, Indigo is seen as the market’s sole survivor.
Air India To Begin Operations
Countries such as the US, UK, Dubai, Maldives, and many more, have restricted flights from India due to rising COVID-19 cases in the country.
This has also impacted passenger numbers, especially those of Air India.
Air India will begin operating its flight services from London to Mumbai from May 17. However, the national carrier will not be operating on May 18, 23, and 30.
Air Bubble Pacts With 27 Countries
Earlier, the Centre had extended the ban on international commercial passenger flights until May 31, 2021.
However, these restrictions do not apply to international all-cargo flights. The government is yet to decide on the resumption of international passenger flights.
India has signed air bubble agreements with 27 countries.
Special international flights may be operated by their airlines between their territories under an air bubble agreement between two countries.
India currently has a bilateral air bubble agreement with about 27 countries, which include countries such as Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Canada, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Iraq, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, the Maldives, Nepal, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Rwanda, Seychelles, Tanzania, Ukraine, the UAE, the UK, Uzbekistan and the US.
The US Is Considering Resuming Travel From India?
Restrictions On Flight Operation From India
The pandemic’s second wave, which has seen daily infection cases reach 3.87 lakh, has forced many countries to temporarily halt international flight operations to and from India.
Countries including Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Kuwait, New Zealand, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and UAE have banned travel to and from India due to the rising number of infections in the country.
According to some experts, the US is considering resuming travel from India, while other countries are likely to tighten their border policies.
Air India and United Airlines continue to operate flights between India and the United States. Meanwhile, beginning May 17, Saudi Arabia will allow vaccinated individuals to enter the country, effectively reopening the country after a year.