India’s aviation regulatory authority, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), extended the suspension of scheduled international commercial flights to and from India till February 28, 2022. The restrictions will not apply to international all-cargo flights, and a few flights approved explicitly by DGCA. The flights under bilateral air bubble arrangement and Mission Vande Bharat will continue to operate.
“The competent authority has decided to extend the suspension of scheduled international commercial passenger services to/from India till 2359 hrs IST of February 28, 2022,” DGCA said in a circular released on Twitter.
The new circular is in the wake of the rising Omicron variant of COVID-19. India's scheduled international flights' ban have been suspended in India since March 2020. DGCA earlier decided to restart regular international services from December 15. However, the authority decided to extend the suspension until January 31, 2022. The new extension until February 28 is the second extension of India's international flights ban .
India has air bubble pact arrangements with nearly 32 countries, including the USA, the UK, France, UAE, Bhutan and Kenya. International passenger traffic is drastically reducing due to Omicron. Countries have also imposed restrictions and guidelines for entry, hindering the movements.
DGCA released traffic data of domestic airlines
Meanwhile, DGCA has also released the traffic data of domestic airlines for November 2021. The number of passengers carried by the country's domestic airlines during Jan-Nov 2021 was 726.11 lakhs as against 556.84 lakhs during the corresponding period of the previous year, thereby registering an annual growth of 30.40 % and monthly growth of 65.50%.
The passenger load factor for November 2021 stood high for SpiceJet at 86.7% compared to 82.2% in October 2021. Air India reported 82% in November 2021, nearly 5% up from October 2021. IndiGo’s passenger load factor stood at 80.5%, which was recorded at 78% in October 2021. Overall, all airlines in India reported a spike in passenger load factor in November 2021.
The cancellation rate of Indian domestic airlines for the month of November 2021 has been 0.74%. A total of 554 complaints had been received by the scheduled domestic airlines in November 2021, the highest for Alliance Air. Around 39.2% was complaints regarding customer service, and 28% was about flight-related problems. Vistara stood first with 84.4% regarding on-time performance, followed by Air Asia (82.4%) and IndiGo (80.5%).