Domestic airlines will be allowed to operate up to 75% of pre-Covid capacity soon: Puri

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on October 08, 2020

Minister for Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri   -  PTI

Maharashtra govt may allow 300 flights a day from Mumbai airport

The domestic air traffic market will touch 3,00,000 passengers a day, the pre-Covid level, between Diwali and the end of the year, Hardeep Puri, Minister of State, Civil Aviation said on Thursday.

The government will also soon allow domestic airlines to operate to 75 per cent of their pre-Covid daily flights, he added.

At the moment, the government has allowed domestic airlines to operate 60 per cent of the flights that they operated in the pre-Covid period.

Addressing a press conference, the Minister said the Maharashtra government has indicated that it will allow 30 per cent of the number of daily flights which Mumbai airport used to handle before the pandemic broke out.

In effect, this means that in the next few days Mumbai will see 300 flights a day. At the moment it is allowing 100 flights daily. This is expected to see the number of daily passengers flown and flights operated to the city go up substantially as many airlines use Mumbai as the gateway to North and South India.

“In the first quarter it (passengers flying daily) will go past 300,000,” the Minister added.

Puri also said that flying schools will be set up at six airports including one in Salem. Senior officials said that the process of selecting partners including international players to run these schools will begin soon.

Air India sell off

On Air India’s divestment, Puri said that the previous attempt was a “half hearted attempt. This time we will ensure that it (divestment) goes through.”

Pradeep Kharola, Secretary, Civil Aviation, said that the date for divestment had been earlier postponed at the request of the bidders. He added that it was in the government’s interest (to extend the deadline) for putting in bids for AI for getting good and competitive bids.

Airports divestment

Seeking to justify the divestment of airports under the Airports Authority of India, officials said that AAI had got ₹29,000 crore till 2019 as revenue share from Delhi and Mumbai airports which helped subsidise operations at other airports.

Officials indicated that handing over six more AAI airports to the private sector (apart from Delhi and Mumbai which together handle 33 per cent of air passenger traffic in the country) will help AAI generate an additional ₹2,300 crore.

This includes ₹1,000 crore, which will come in this month from the privatisation of Lucknow, Ahmedabad and Mangaluru airport which will be handed over by November 12.

Published on October 08, 2020

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