The union ministry of civil aviation on Saturday extended the suspension of all domestic and international flights till May 17.
The directive comes a day after the Centre extended the lockdown period by two more weeks, starting from May 4.
During this period a ban on air travel, trains and interstate road transport will continue. Governments have, however, given some relaxations to various business activities and people’s movement within areas with limited or no COVID-19 cases.
“In view of the decision taken by the government to continue the lockdown up to 17th May 2020 … prohibiting domestic passenger flight operations has been further extended up to 2359 hours IST on 17th May 2020,” aviation regulator DGCA said in a circular issued on Saturday.
The restrictions, however, do not apply on the cargo-related operations and special flights approved by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
“However, it is reiterated that foreign and domestic airlines shall be suitably informed about the opening of their operations whether international to/from India or domestic respectively in due course,” the DGCA circular said.
The government announced the first phase of lockdown on March 23 to April 14, later it was extended from April 15 to May 3.
During this period, all domestic and international flights have been suspended with an aim to contain the further spread of the coronavirus caused Covid-19. However, cargo flights, offshore helicopter operations, medical evacuation flights and special flights permitted by Indian aviation regulator DGCA have been permitted to operate during the lockdown.
The aviation sector has been hit hard by the pandemic. Airlines have either slashed salaries or have asked employees to go on a sabbatical without pay. Experts believe that the loss incurred by this aviation industry in India is expected to post losses of over $3-3.6 billion in the June quarter.