New Delhi: With domestic flight operations all set to resume from Monday, Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri today said that ‘it has been a long day of hard negotiations,’ adding that domestic flights will recommence across the country, except in Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal, where they will resume later. Also Read - Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam Airports to Resume Domestic Flights on May 26; West Bengal From May 28
Puri tweeted, “As per request of state government, operations in Andhra Pradesh will recommence on limited scale from 26 May. For Tamil Nadu, there will be maximum 25 arrivals in Chennai but there’s no limit on number of departures. For other airports in Tamil Nadu, flights will operate as in other parts of country.” Also Read - Lockdown 4.0 in Maharashtra: State Allows 25 Flights Each to Take Off From And Land in Mumbai Everyday
Notably, Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam are the two airports which will function in Andhra Pradesh. Also Read - Apart From Domestic Flights, Centre Allows 'UDAN' Regional Air Services on Select Routes With Conditions
The minister further tweeted, “Starting tomorrow, there will be limited flights from Mumbai and as per approved 1/3rd schedule, from other airports in the state. Limited operations to West Bengal will commence on 28th May 2020.”
Maharashtra, which has the highest number of coronavirus cases in the country, having crossed the 50,000 mark, had earlier stated that it needed more time to restore domestic flight operations. However, later, the state government said that everyday, 25 flights each would be allowed to take off from and land in Mumbai.
West Bengal, meanwhile, had requested that it be allowed to resume domestic flight operations at a later date as it was battling the COVID-19 pandemic and Cyclone Amphan simultaneously.
“It has been a long day of hard negotiations with various state governments to recommence civil aviation operations in the country. Except Andhra Pradesh which will start on May 26 and West Bengal on May 28, domestic flights will recommence across the country from tomorrow,” he concluded.
Several states, including Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and West Bengal-had argued against resumption of domestic flights fearing that an influx of returnees might lead to a spike in coronavirus cases in the respective states.
Earlier this week, in a sudden change of stance, the Centre had announced that domestic flight operations would resume across the country from May 25, two months after being suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ban of international flights, in effect since March 22, however, continues to stay.