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NEW DELHI: Domestic flights in India will fly at full capacity from 18 October, India’s civil aviation ministry said on Tuesday, as it lifted one of the major restrictions on the industry since the onset of the pandemic 18 months ago.

The government’s move ahead of the Indian festive season comes as a boon to the struggling domestic carriers, including IndiGo and SpiceJet, which were starting to see some improvements in passenger traffic due to a drop in Covid-19 infections in most states.

In August, regulatory data showed that passenger growth jumped 136.6 per cent as the government started to ease Covid-related travel restrictions.

“The airlines/airport operators shall, however, ensure that the guidelines to contain the spread of Covid are strictly adhered to and Covid- appropriate behaviour is strictly enforced,” the ministry said in an order.

Airlines including IndiGo, SpiceJet and Vistara – a joint venture of Tata Group and Singapore Airlines – were allowed to resume partial operations in May 2020 with limited capacity after a two-month halt on operations to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Since partial resumption, air travel has faced limitations such as ticket pricing restrictions, protective suits and face shields for flight attendants and passengers as well as curbs on serving food on planes.

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