NEW DELHI: The winter schedule for flights, that comes into effect Sunday, will begin with 44% less domestic connectivity than last winter. The government has currently capped domestic flights at 60% of the originally approved summer schedule in the pandemic.
Accordingly, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has cleared a schedule for 12,983 weekly domestic flights covering 95 airports in winter 2020-21 — down 44.3% from 23,307 in winter 2019-20.
The cap on flights is likely to be raised to 75% shortly 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% has seen a maximum drop in weekly domestic flights of SpiceJet — 1,957, down 55% from 4,316 last winter. This is followed by Air India — 1,126, down 50% from last winter’s 2,254; GoAir — 1,203, down 48% from 2,308; IndiGo — 6,006, down 42% from 10,310. According to the schedule, GoAir has more domestic flights than AI.
A senior DGCA official said, “The schedule has been approved for Indian scheduled operators at 60% of the capacity as directed by the aviation ministry.”
The list of 95 airports which will get schedule domestic flights shows Gujarat has the maximum cities linked by air at nine. It is followed by Karnataka and Maharashtra at eight each. Assam, Tamil Nadu, UP and Rajasthan have six cities each.
Scheduled domestic flights were suspended on March 25 due to the pandemic. They were allowed to resume two months later on May 25 in a phased manner with airlines initially allowed to operate one-third (33%) of their capacity on domestic sectors. Currently, airlines are allowed to operate up to 60% of the available capacity during summer schedule 2020.