Domestic flights to resume from tomorrow, but confusion persists

Cheryl Sanders
May 25, 2020

Three large Indian states have sought to delay the planned opening of their airports on Monday (May 25) as new cases of the novel coronavirus jumped by a record, complicating the federal government's plan to resume flights after a two-month lockdown.

82 flights to and from Delhi were cancelled, with angry passengers at Terminal 3 of Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport claiming that they were not informed till the last minute. The Delhi airport will handle a total of 125 departures and 118 arrivals today. Shops and food outlets within the airport will be open, however, passengers should avoid crowding. The first flight from T3 departed at 4.30 am for Pune.

The Mumbai airport, the country's second busiest airport, will handle 50 flights daily - 25 incoming and 25 outgoing. A passenger, who was travelling to Srinagar, told us, "I am going home because my office in Delhi has been closed for the last two months and there's no work here". "But nothing is confirmed yet", a woman, sitting on her suitcase, told NDTV. Starting tomorrow, there will be limited flights from Mumbai & as per approved ⅓ schedule from other airports in the state.

Local media said nearly 100 flights were cancelled, although many more took off as scheduled.

Dos and Don'ts shall be provided along with tickets to travellers by agencies concerned, said the ministry's guidelines for domestic travel (air/train/inter-state bus travel).

Budget carrier GoAir, however, said it would resume flight operations from June 1 as it awaits clarity on the readiness of states and their airports.

Thackeray, in an online briefing earlier, said, "I spoke to civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri today and told him that the Mumbai worldwide airport needs more time to resume its operations". "From March 15, we were stuck here in Tamil Nadu due to the lockdown".

Northeast India too witnessed a disruption of flights, with flights arriving only in Assam's Guwahati and Manipur's Imphal airports.

The eastern state of West Bengal is reeling under the aftermath of Cyclone Amphan.

Nine flights were cancelled at Bengaluru's Kempegowda International Airport.

A passenger scans her ticket as she arrives at Birsa Munda International Airport in Ranchi.

Even as domestic passenger flights are set to resume in India from Monday, some states have questioned the move citing issues with rules and their reluctance to accept flights. All global scheduled commercial passenger flights remain suspended.

Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said strict rules would include mandatory mask-wearing and thermal screenings, although middle seats on the aircraft would not be kept empty.

Officials of the RGIA and airlines took necessary precautions to ensure that the passengers followed the Covid-19 guidelines issued by the government.

Other reports by iNewsToday