Hyderabad: The Ministry of Civil Aviation on Tuesday announced that airlines can operate domestic flights without any capacity restrictions from 18 October onwards, keeping in mind the 'passenger demand for air travel'.
"After reviewing the current status of scheduled domestic operations viz-a-viz passenger demand for air travel in terms of the purpose specified in the order dated 25 May 2020, it has been decided to restore the scheduled domestic air operations with effect from 18 October without any capacity restrictions," said Satyendra Kumar Mishra, secretary, Ministry of Civil aviation.
The ministry asked the airlines/airport operators to ensure that the guidelines to contain the spread of COVID-19 are strictly adhered to and COVID appropriate behavior is strictly enforced by them during the travel.
The carriers have been operating at 85 per cent of their pre-COVID domestic services since 18 September, according to the ministry's order. The capacity cap stood at 72.5 per cent between 12 August and 18 September 18, 65 per cent between 5 July and 12 August, and 50 per cent between 1 June and 5 July.
Meanwhile, as the number of COVID-19 cases is steadily coming down across India, the confidence in travel is steadily gaining momentum. Hyderabad airport saw an increase in the number of flights across domestic sectors. The airport recorded a substantial rise in Air Traffic Movements (ATMs) in September which was close to 9,000.
Following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, the passenger traffic also surged in September 2021 as the airport witnessed traffic of 9.35 lakhs domestic passengers as compared to 6.8 lakh domestic passengers in July. This is 62% of the pre-COVID levels, the airport said in a press release on Monday.
The domestic passenger recovery at Hyderabad International Airport was the highest amongst all metro airports during July-August 2021.
GMR Hyderabad International Airport (GHIAL) also saw a gradual increase in international travelers which was 1.2 lakh, 41% of the pre-COVID level. Overall, the total passenger traffic footfall (domestic and international) reached 59% of the pre-COVID levels in September 2021.
On 9 October, GHIAL recorded the highest (domestic and international) passenger footfall of nearly 48,000 and 350 air traffic movements which is 77% of the pre-COVID numbers.
The most popular domestic destinations in terms of passenger volume were Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru. Dubai, Doha, and Sharjah were the hottest destinations among international travellers. Along with leisure and vacation travel, SME business travel, visiting friends and relatives (VFR), and students largely contributed to the increase in passenger numbers, GHIAL said.
The average domestic passengers travelling from Hyderabad International Airport per day rose to 31,137 in September as compared to 22,500 per day in July