After announcing a partial resumption of train services on Sunday, the government is all set to begin flight services in a bid to kickstart the aviation industry. A high-level committee comprising DGCA officials, CISF, Airport authority officials including AAI and DIAL officers today inspected preparedness for the resumption of services at the Delhi International Airport. The move is being seen as a strong indicator of kickstarting the economy post lockdown. Earlier, the Civil Aviation Minister had also indicated that airlines, especially domestic flights were likely to resume by May 15.
Earlier, Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, in an exclusive conversation with Outlook Magazine had said that the government is planning to resume domestic flight operations before May 15. According to sources if not before May 15, the domestic flights to select cities could begin after the third phase of lockdown is over.
"We are planning to start domestic flight operations even before May 15. My effort will be to try and move in the direction of starting it very soon. I can’t put a date on it because when you are planning evacuation operations, you need the co-operation of the state governments. In order to open up domestic civil aviation, I need the domestic infrastructure in place," Puri told Outlook Magazine.
Puri also said that the Ministry also foresees changes in the way people would travel with strict adherence to the social distancing norms. He said there will be changes in SOPs related to flight operation.
Puri informed that once the airports would reopen long queues would not be allowed, people shall be asked to reach airport well before the normal time, whereas baggage entitlement might be reduced and meal services may be stopped. Also, its is mandatory for all passengers to download the government's Aarogya Setu app, developed to track Covid-19 patients.
On March 19, the DGCA had announced that no international commercial passenger flight operations will take place in India from 1.30 am on March 23, while domestic flight operations were ceased from March 24.
First enforced on March 25, the nation-wide lockdown was originally supposed to end on April 14. It was, however, later extended to May 3, and then to May 17.