Domestic Air Traffic Could Reach To Pre-COVID Level by Diwali – Aviation Minister

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Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Monday said that most probably the domestic air passenger traffic could reach to the pre-COVID level by Diwali, i.e. November 14.

Puri also stated that government will soon allowed more flights from the major airports such as Mumbai and Kolkata.

Speaking at an online Idea Exchange event of The Indian Express, the Civil Aviation Minister said, “The figure (of domestic passengers) yesterday was 98,800, so we’ve already reached 33% of pre-Covid numbers. We are increasing domestic passengers at the rate of 5,000 a week. With Mumbai hopefully having COVID numbers under control, the graph stable and coming down, I’m hoping that after the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations, we’ll open up Mumbai more; Bengaluru, Kolkata are going to be a touch less sporadic. we’ll be looking to the touch the five hundred mark before too long.”

With Mumbai restricting flights to 100 daily amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the flights to Kolkata from Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Nagpur, and Ahmedabad are barred till August 31. Till now, the Civil Aviation Ministry had allowed only up to 45 per cent of the capacity for domestic airlines, before their pre-COVID capacities.

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On the issue of resumption of international flights, Puri said, as the daily quoted, “I cannot anticipate whether countries will allow people from India in, but we’ve gone ahead and made the best out of a very difficult situation, navigated through turbulence, and today we’ve air bubbles with the US, Canada, the UK, France, Germany. I have announced 13 more.”

The Union Minister also claimed that India has initiated the system for passenger with an RT-PCR test done in the last 96 hours. He said, “In our case, we started with a mandatory 14-day quarantine — 7 days’ institutional and 7 days’ self-quarantine. Now we’ve introduced an innovation if you’re carrying a certificate of an RT-PCR test done in the last 96 hours you’ll undergo the green channel. We are opening up these things so that we move towards normalcy.”

Earlier, Center for Asia Pacific Aviation, India (CAPA India) had projected a loss of $4-4.5 billion for India’s airline industry in 2020-21 (April-March) because of the aviation restrictions.


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