Amid the surge in COVID-19 cases, the government is planning to reduce the maximum passenger capacity for domestic airlines to 60 per cent from 80 per cent currently.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Ministry of Civil Aviation and Airports Authority of India are expected to hold a meeting next week on the issue.
"We are looking at both the safety angle and the financial fair play angle before making a decision on reducing capacity utilisation in domestic flights," MoneyControl cited a source as saying. Increasing COVID-19 infections, along with regional lockdowns, curfews and other curbs, have already impacted domestic passenger traffic in the last few weeks.
In a meeting with Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola this week, airline representatives sought financial assistance from the Centre to deal with the second wave of coronavirus in the country. They also requested reduction in flight capacity to 60 per cent as bookings have reduced by about 50 per cent.
The request by the airlines to lower domestic passenger operational capacity is for maintaining status quo in market share, as some of the bigger airlines are financially stronger than others and will be able to hold on to their capacity compared to the rest.
After suspending flight services for two months last year because of the COVID-19 lockdown, the government had restarted domestic flight operations on May 25.
Since then, the government has gradually increased fleet capacity from 33 per cent to 80 per cent in December.
India is currently reeling under the second wave of coronavirus cases. The country reported 2,17,353 fresh COVID-19 cases on Thursday.
(Edited by Vivek Dubey)