Domestic flights will recommence in “calibrated manner” from May 25, the government said in a major announcement on Wednesday, two months after commercial airlines ceased operations in view of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri in a tweet further asked all airports and air carriers to be ready for operations from Monday.
SOPs for passenger movement are also being separately issued by the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Singh said.
Domestic civil aviation operations will recommence in a calibrated manner from Monday 25th May 2020.
All airports & air carriers are being informed to be ready for operations from 25th May.
SOPs for passenger movement are also being separately issued by @MoCA_GoI.
— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) May 20, 2020
However, there is no information yet on international airline operations.
In an unprecedented measure to check the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus disease, operations of domestic scheduled commercial airlines had been suspended on March 25.
The next day, all scheduled international commercial passenger services were also suspended.
However, cargo flights, offshore helicopter operations, medical evacuation flights and special planes permitted by Indian aviation regulator DGCA were permitted to operate during the lockdown.
The aviation sector has been hit hard by the Coronavirus pandemic. Airlines have either slashed salaries or asked employees to go on a sabbatical without pay.
The news of resuming domestic travel comes day after Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri advised the Central government to go for “cooperative federalism”, saying planes should not be landed in states without the approval of the state governments.
“It is not upto @MoCA_GoI or centre alone to decide on resuming domestic flights. In the spirit of cooperative federalism, the govt of states where these flights will take off & land should be ready to allow civil aviation operations (sic.),” Puri tweeted.
Meanwhile, the Centre has facilitated the return of Indian nationals stranded abroad on compelling grounds from May 7 in two phases under the ‘Vande Bharat Mission’.
The Government announced 64 repatriation flights between May 7 and May 13 to bring nearly 15,000 Indian nationals from 12 countries in the biggest evacuation exercise in world history.
In the second phase, 149 aircraft have been deployed to bring back Indians from 31 countries between May 16 and May 22.