Govt to allow domestic airlines to operate 75% daily flights

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on October 08, 2020

Hardeep Puri,

Traffic to improve between Diwali and year-end: Hardeep Puri

The domestic air traffic will touch 3,00,000 passengers a day or touch the pre-Covid level between Diwali and the end of the year and the government will allow domestic airlines to operate to 75 per cent of their pre-Covid daily flights, Hardeep Puri, Minister of State, Civil Aviation, said on Thursday.

Currently, domestic airlines are operating 60 per cent of the flights that they operated in the pre-Covid period.

Addressing a press conference, the Minister said the Maharashtra state government has indicated that it will allow 30 per cent of the number of daily flights which Mumbai airport used to handle. 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 3,00,000,” the Minister added.

Puri also said that it has been decided to set up flying schools at six airports including at Salem. Senior officials said that the process of selecting partners, including international players, to run these schools will begin soon.

On Air India’s divestment, Puri said the previous attempt was a “half hearted attempt.....You want to pass on liabilities to whoever is buying AI. This time we will ensure that it (divestment goes through).”

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

Officials indicated that up-front payment for three airports which have been divested will be received by November 12. 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 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.

Published on October 08, 2020

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