New Delhi: Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Thursday gave a detailed press briefing on the reopening of domestic flight operations in India amid the nationwide coronavirus pandemic. Also Read - Aviation Minister, Approached by Those Wishing to go to UAE, Says 'Will Take You There Once They Lift Curbs'

In his briefing, the aviation minister explained how flights will be functioning from metropolitan cities to non-metros and how the government was ensuring the fares are still affordable by citizens. To ensure this, the central ministry classified the pricing under seven duration-based categories. Also Read - Lockdown 5.0: International Flights to Stay Grounded, Call on Resumption During 'Phase-3'

What does this mean? Also Read - Domestic Flights Are Not Spreading COVID-19, Cases Are Getting Detected Because... Read What Hardeep Singh Puri Says

The aviation ministry has capped the pricing by categorising the duration of the flight. As a result, flight routes have been classified under these seven categories across the country:

1) Flight time less than 40 minutes

2) 40 – 60 minutes

3) 60 – 90 minutes

4) 90 – 120 minutes

5) 120 – 150 minutes

6) 150 – 180 minutes

7) 180 – 210 minutes

How will the pricing vary?

In its SOP (standard operating protocol) for travellers released earlier this morning, the ministry urged the airlines to adhere to the lower and upper limit of fares prescribed by govt during COVID-19 pandemic period.

Hardeep Singh Puri explained that while pricing will be inflated slightly, the ministry has capped its lower and upper limit, so that they don’t skyrocket.

For instance, in case of flights between 90 to 120 minutes to and from cities like Mumbai or Delhi,

Minimum fare: Rs 3,500

Maximum fare: Rs 10,000

Further, the ministry will ensure at least 40 per cent of the seats are sold at less than the midpoint of the band, i.e., less than Rs 6,700.

“This order which is being issued today shall remain in force till 23:59 hours IST on 24th August,” Puri said and added that these guidelines will be tweaked based on the experience on opening up flights.

What destinations will the flights operate to?

From what we know so far, flights will begin operating in ‘green zones’ and ‘orange zones’. However, as most major cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad etc still fall under ‘red zone’ areas, flight operations will depend on a green signal from the respective state governments.