Govt increases India-UK flights to 60 per week

Aviation ministry increases cap on India-UK flights to 60 per week

Currently, the two groups of airlines -- Indian carriers and British carriers -- are each allowed to operate 15 flights per week on the India-UK route

Representative image. Credit: iStock Photo

The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has increased the cap on special flights that operate between India and the UK from 30 to 60 flights per week from August 16 onwards.

The ministry's decision has come five days after Sanjeev Gupta, Secretary, Inter-State Council Secretariat, Union home ministry, had complained on Twitter that an economy-class ticket on Delhi-London flights of British Airways, Air India and Vistara for August 26 was priced between Rs 1.2 lakh and Rs 3.95 lakh.

After Gupta's post, Vistara had said on Sunday that pricing is always a function of supply and demand.

"There are only 15 flights a week allowed currently on India-UK route for Indian carriers and when there is relaxation and more capacity allowed, it will automatically bring down prices," the carrier had said.

Currently, the two groups of airlines -- Indian carriers and British carriers -- are each allowed to operate 15 flights per week on the India-UK route. This will be doubled from August 16 onwards.

Also read: Canada extends ban on direct passenger flights from India till September 21 due to Covid

On Thursday, the MoCA said the increase in the cap "will be effective from August 16, 2021, and will remain valid till further orders or till the resumption of scheduled international commercial passenger services, whichever is earlier".

"Out of the 30 frequencies per week available to Indian carriers, 26 frequencies have been allotted to Air India and the remaining 4 frequencies have been allotted to Vistara Airlines," it mentioned.

Scheduled international passenger flights have been suspended in India since March 23 last year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

However, limited special international passenger flights have been operating since July 2020 under the air bubble arrangements formed with 28 countries, including the UK.

While there have been lower and upper limits on all domestic airfares in India since May 25 last year, no such limits have been imposed on international airfares.

After Gupta's Twitter post on Saturday, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) asked the airlines that operate India-UK flights currently to submit details about their fares.