Airline companies can operate only 50% of their pre-COVID domestic flights from June 1 as opposed to the 80 per cent allowed presently, the Civil Aviation Ministry has said.
The decision was taken in the wake of a sudden jump in the count of active coronavirus cases across the country, passenger load factor (occupancy rate), and dip in passenger traffic, the ministry said in its order issued on Friday.
It had allowed the carriers to operate not more than 33% of their pre-COVID domestic services when the Centre restarted scheduled domestic flights in the country on May 25 last year following a two-month hiatus.
The cap was gradually increased to up to 80 per cent by December last year.
On Friday, the Civil Aviation Ministry reduced the cap from 80 per cent to 50 per cent. This reduction will come into effect from June 1, it said.
Meanwhile, the ministry has also raised the lower limit on fares by 13 to 16 per cent.
The increase in airfares will come into effect from June 1, it said. The upper limits on fares remain unchanged. The move is aimed at helping the airlines amid a devastating second wave of COVID-19 which has reduced air travel significantly.
India had imposed lower and upper limits on airfares based on flight duration when services were resumed on May 25 last year after a two-month lockdown.
On Friday, the official order said the lower limit for flights under 40 minutes of duration will be increased from Rs 2,300 to Rs 2,600 an increase of 13 per cent.
Similarly, flights with duration between 40 and 60 minutes will have a lower limit of Rs 3,300 instead of Rs 2,900 now, the order said.