Fare bands for domestic flights have been extended and kept unchanged till February 24, 2021, Ministry of Civil Aviation said in a press release. Along with this, the ministry also announced that more flights would be allowed in the coming days based on passenger traffic. Aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had announced seven fare bands for domestic flights after Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri called for a cap on the domestic airfare. These fare bands came into force with effect from May 21, 2020. The seven fare bands are time-based. The first band has flights that are operated under 40 minutes duration. The rest of the fare bands are applicable on 40-60 minutes, 60-90 minutes, 90-120 minutes, 120-150 minutes, 150-180 minutes, and 180-210 minutes of flight durations.
According to the Civil Aviation Ministry, the daily passenger air traffic reached 2.05 lakh on November 1, 2020. When domestic aviation services resumed in May 2020, the airlines were allowed to fly up to 33 per cent of their normal capacity. The average daily traffic during that time was about 30,000. This cap was enhanced to 45 per cent with effect from June 26, 2020. The cap was further relaxed to 60 per cent with effect from September 2, 2020. At present, the airlines can operate up to 60 per cent of their capacity.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation stated that it has been monitoring the traffic every day, and that the air traffic is expected to further pick up because of the festive season. As the passenger traffic increases, the upper cap would be revised to 70-75 per cent of normal capacity in the coming days.
Meanwhile, recently a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) with a subsidiary of National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) to promote the usage of electric vehicles and set up solar power plants at airports. To set up the solar power plants, adequate land and rooftop space at the identified AAI airports will be provided to NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam (NVVN), a subsidiary of NTPC, free of cost. More than 100 airports are owned and managed by AAI across the country.