Further opening of domestic flight ops will depend on COVID-19 situation, passenger demand: Puri

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New Delhi, Feb 3 (PTI) The civil aviation ministry on Wednesday told Rajya Sabha that further opening up of the domestic scheduled operations is subject to prevailing COVID-19 situation, status of operations and passenger demand for air travel.

In the wake of the pandemic, scheduled domestic operations were suspended from March 25, 2020, and resumed in a calibrated manner from May 25, 2020. Currently, the operations have been opened up to 80 per cent of the summer schedule 2020.

'Further, opening up of the domestic scheduled operations is subject to prevailing COVID-19 situation, status of operations and passenger demand for air travel,' Minister of State for Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri said in a written reply.

In another written reply, the minister provided a few figures based on inputs received from stakeholders on the impact of regulatory constraints on employment in the aviation sector amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The employment at airlines has reduced from 74,887 as on March 31 to 67,906 as on September 30 last year, while those at airports declined from 67,760 to 48,513 during the same period.

'The employment at ground handling agencies has reduced from 37,720 as on March 31, 2020, to 25,074 as on September 30, 2020,' as per the reply.

Further, the employment at cargo operators dropped from 9,555 as on March 31, 2020, to 9,385 at the end of September 30, 2020.

After the resumption of domestic air services in May last year, initially, only 33 per cent of the summer schedule 2020 was allowed to be operated. The same was increased to 45 per cent on June 26 and then to 80 per cent on December 3, 2020. PTI RAM HRS hrs