Domestic flight ticket booking: As the Centre has decided to amend its lockdown 4.0 guidelines to accommodate domestic flight services as a permitted activity from May 25, the private airlines said they are all geared up for the resumption of the services — after two months of lockdown which incurred a heavy loss on the aviation sector of the country. On Thursday, the Airport Authorities of India issues an SOP for the airports mandating safety and security guidelines for the services. Also Read - COVID-19 Cases Cross 1.6 Lakh-mark; Death Toll Above 4,600; Shah Speaks to CMs Over Lockdown Extension | Key Points
However, a Bloomberg report has claimed that the private airlines were not intimated about the announcement. It was a bolt out of the blue for most of the aviation companies, the report said. “Top executives at three Indian airlines said they learned about the move when the aviation minister tweeted it. The executives asked not to be identified citing rules on speaking to the media. Airline shares surged,” the report said. Also Read - Coronavirus: Total Tally Reaches 1.58 Lakh as India Prepares For Staggered Opening From Next Week
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But even after domestic airlines were not allowed until May 31 and there was no clarification on whether the lockdown will be extended or not, most airlines started taking bookings from June 1.
Technical teams of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, the industry regulator, will meet airlines on Thursday to finalize a curtailed schedule “as quickly as possible,” before tickets go on sale, Arun Kumar, the head of the DGCA, said in a text message.
“While airlines, strapped for cash due to the shutdown, were waiting for a decision, the short notice makes it harder for them to prepare for operations, deploy staff, arrange for protective gear, and ensure the virus stays away from flights,” the report said.