Domestic flights to resume operation in calibrated manner after 60 days
In further relaxation of lockdown rules, the Ministry of Civil Aviation is all set to start domestic flight operations from May 25 in a calibrated manner.
Currently, only cargo and evacuation flight services are allowed. The Ministry will soon be announcing the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for domestic air travel.
In a tweet, Union Minister for Civil Aviation Hardeep Puri said all airports and air carriers are being informed to be ready for operations from May 25. The standard operating procedures for passenger movement will be separately issued by the Ministry, Puri said.
The Minister said only a small percentage of the total number of domestic flights will be operated at first and the number of flights will be increased later, depending on the initial experience. He said the option of keeping the middle seats on flights vacant is not a viable one.
“Even if you keep the middle seat vacant, you’ll still have a situation where the prescribed distance for social distancing isn’t followed. If you were to do it then you’d have to hike up the price of airline tickets by 33 per cent,” Puri said.
The announcement came amid the fourth phase of the lockdown which was imposed by the Government on March 25 in order to combat the novel coronavirus outbreak in the country.
The AAI on Sunday had also issued guidelines for passengers once the flight services resume that include making mandatorily downloading of Aarogya Setu app on mobile phones for travelling by air, do a web-check in and carry a print out of their boarding pass before heading to the airport to catch a flight.
It also stated that air travelers must maintain a distance of four feet from co-passengers, wear a mask and other protective gear, wash or sanitise their hands frequently and carry a 350 ml bottle of sanitiser all the time.
The aviation sector has been hit hard by the pandemic as various countries, including India, decided to suspend commercial flights completely to curb the spread of the virus.
Since March 25, Indian airlines have taken steps like firing expat pilots, announcing pay cuts and leave without pay for employees to conserve cash.
The first, second and third phase of lockdown were between March 25-April 14, April 15-May 3 and May 4-May 17, respectively. The fourth phase started from May 18 and would end on May 31.
Cargo flights, medical evacuation flights, offshore helicopter operations and special flights approved by the aviation regulator DGCA have been allowed to operate as usual during the lockdown period.
Thursday, 21 May 2020 | PNS | New Delhi
You might also like
- Airfares capped May 22, 2020
- 72 killed in Bengal in fiercest cyclone May 22, 2020
- Covid-19 cases shoot up to 146 in U’khand May 22, 2020
- U’khand provides relief to tourism, transport and industry May 22, 2020
- Locals favour low-key Eid celebrations in lockdown May 22, 2020