New Delhi | Jagran Business Desk: In order to revive the pandemic-hit aviation sector, the central government on Friday announced that it has decided to hike the minimum domestic fares by five per cent. This is the second hike in rates of domestic flights in just over a month due to the rising crude oil prices in the international market.

"There has been a continuous rise in price of ATF so it has been decided to increase the lower fare band by 5 per cent keeping the upper fare band unchanged. We may open the sector for 100 per cent operations when daily passenger traffic crosses 3.5 lakhs on 3 occasions in a month, said Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri in a Tweet.

The Union Civil Aviation Minister also announced that the central government has asked domestic airlines to limit their capacity of 80 per cent of pre-COVID times till April-end because there has been a reduction in the number of air passengers to fresh restrictions imposed in several states and union territories (UTs) to control the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

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"Last few days have seen a decline in the number of air passengers largely due to restrictions and imposition of compulsory RT-PCR test by various states. Due to this we have decided to retain the permissible limit to 80 per cent of schedule," Puri said in another Tweet.

All domestic and international flights across India were banned by the central government on March 24 after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a nationwide coronavirus-induced lockdown. However, domestic flights were allowed to resume their operations from May last year in a graded manner.

The central government, however, had imposed a capacity limit on flight operation in wake of the coronavirus pandemic. It had then also placed lower and upper limits of pricing of tickets based on the flight duration for three months.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma