Indian airlines are unlikely to augment domestic capacities anytime soon as they face several bottlenecks despite the further easing of curbs by the government.
The carriers continue to endure several restrictions, reduced slots at airports, stringent passenger quarantine and lockdowns in several states as well as sluggish demand.
“It’s hard for airlines to increase their capacity to 45% in the near future as most airlines are currently operating at 20%-25% of their capacity amid muted passenger demand due to the pandemic,” a senior airline official said, seeking anonymity.
Indian airlines resumed domestic flights in a staggered manner from May 25, after a two-month suspension during a nationwide lockdown aimed at containing the spread of Covid-19. At the time, the government set a 33% cap on flights for each airline, which was raised to 45% in June. IndiGo, India’s top domestic airline, said last week it may take anywhere between 18 and 24 months to return to pre-Covid-19 levels of travel demand.