Indian aviation could see passenger traffic reaching pre-COVID 19 levels as soon as the end of 2020, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri said in an optimistic note for the industry, which had expected normalcy to return only by the second half of 2021.

“Between Diwali and end of the year we will not only reach pre-COVID-19 levels of 3,00,00 [passengers a day]”, but into the first quarter of the next year, we will also surpass pre-COVID-19 levels”, he said at a press briefing.

These expectations were based on the traffic figures witnessed in October first week, which was above 1,50,000 unique passenger trips, he noted.

The restrictions

The 50% mark took a long time to breach because of several restrictions imposed by various State governments and their quarantine norms, but covering the remaining 50% won’t take as long, he added.

Domestic flights were allowed to resume on May 25 after being suspended on March 25. International operations remain partially suspended as traffic between India and 16 countries is allowed under special bilateral arrangements.

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