Soon after the announcement of the extension of lockdown period till May 31, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said all scheduled commercial flights would remain suspended till the end of the month. However, news of the change of plan is afoot.
Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri today said domestic civil aviation operations will recommence in a calibrated manner from May 25. “All airports and air carriers are being informed to be ready for operations from 25 May. SOPs for passenger movement also being separately issued by the ministry,” he said in a tweet.
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
Flights during COVID-19
No commercial flight operations since March 25
People are anxiously waiting for the resumption of domestic flight services in the country. Stranded passengers want to reach their respective destinations. Commercial flight services in the country have been suspended since the announcement of nationwide first lockdown by the Union government on March 25.
Centre can’t take all decisions alone
The civil aviation ministry is gearing up to resume the passengers’ flights after the end of lockdown 4.0. But the issue is that the Centre can’t take all the decisions alone in this regard. The cooperation of state governments is essential for the restoration of flight services in the country. The state governments will have to be fully prepared to allow flight operations in the spirit of cooperative federalism.
State govts can make some decisions
The fourth phase of lockdown will continue till May 31 to contain the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. The government on Sunday announced several relaxations during the lockdown 4.0 period. Hence, state governments can also take some decisions in providing relaxation to the people.
Centre not in a hurry to restart flight services
Several states have allowed taxis, auto-rickshaws, and somewhat buses to hit the roads. But no respite was given in the operations of flights. It seems the government is not in a hurry to begin flight services. Flights for the essential services like cargo, medical evacuation, and special flights will continue their operations during the nationwide lockdown.
AAI issues guidelines
The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has been seeking to resume the flight services, in this regard AAI has already issued several guidelines for passengers amid COVID-19. The moment the service starts then passengers will have to strictly follow the social distancing norms of at least four-feet from other co-passengers. Masks would be mandatory for everyone. Apart from these all the precautionary measures will be taken before the journey.
The civil aviation minister said airport operations are likely to open only in a graded manner with nearly 25-30% of capacity initially.
Airlines services are likely to resume from next month after the end of lockdown 4.0. Therefore, several airlines have started bookings for domestic flights from June onwards. But there is no chance of the resumption of international flights at the moment.