Aviation has been one of the worst hit sectors due to the pandemic. In India, airlines have to make do with three sets of regulations—at a national level, state level and city level. At the national level, the government has stepped in by capping the capacity. In addition to that, even fares have a band with a floor price and a ceiling price that are being set by the government.
At the state level, there are those like West Bengal that allow flights from Maharashtra to be operational only on certain days of the week. And if as much regulation was not enough, at the city level, there are regulations around RT-PCR reports.
In other words, airlines are grappling with multiple challenges. They have to manage scheduling and routing. There is also the issue of managing layovers for the crew or taking a decision to dead-head them back to their base.
While against the free market, the aviation minister has been supportive of the idea of caps so as to ensure that all airlines continue to remain in the field and a dominant carrier does not undercut the market and lead to fall of weaker ones.
But amid this pandemonium, there is an urgent need to get rules in black and white to ensure that neither the airports, passengers or airlines are left guessing on when the capacity will be back.