New Delhi: On May 17, the government announced guidelines for lockdown 4.0 with no relaxation to the aviation sector till May 31. However, on Wednesday, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri announced that domestic flights will resume from May 25 in a calibrated manner. The next day, the Centre released a guidelines permitting passengers flights from May 25, bringing respite to airlines and various allied sectors that are suffering losses and declining revenues for about two months. Also Read - Domestic Flights From May 25: Lowest Fare to Highest, Check DGCA's 7 Bands For Air Tickets
So, what led the government to change its plan? Also Read - People Travelling to Assam on Domestic Flights From Monday Will be Quarantined, Says State Govt
According to The Indian Express report, there was a sudden change in the Centre’s plan as there was looming danger of more than one airline folding up in the wake of the nationwide lockdown and also on the account of little relief provided to the sector in the stimulus package announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman last week. Also Read - ‘Not Practical’: Centre Says Quarantine For Passengers on Domestic Flights Not Needed
The report by the leading daily also stated that the move by the government is a breather for airlines, although, they are not completely satisfied with the decision due to the fare caps, limited capacity operations and other added costs.
Notably, the Civil Aviation Ministry yesterday issued detailed guidelines for airlines, airports, passengers and other stakeholders.The ministry said it will prescribe lower and upper limit on air fares and airlines will have to adhere to it “during the period of COVID-19 pandemic”.
“On the day of commencement (May 25), limited operations (about one-third) would be permitted,” it said.
Only one check-in bag would be allowed and airlines will not provide any meal services in flights, the ministry said.
Boarding for a flight will commence 60 minutes before departure and boarding gate will be closed 20 minutes before departure, it added.
All scheduled commercial passenger flight operations have been suspended since March 25, when the Modi government announced the nationwide lockdown to combat the coronavirus pandemic.