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COVID-19 Crisis: All domestic commercial flights cancelled till March 31 in view of coronavirus outbreak

All domestic commercial passenger flights have been suspended in the country in view of the rising cases of novel coronavirus. Along with cargo flights, off-shore helicopter operations, medical evacuation flights or flights "specifically" approved by aviation regulator DGCA can operate as usual.

India TV News Desk Edited by: India TV News Desk
New Delhi Updated on: March 24, 2020 7:33 IST
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Image Source : PTI

COVID-19 Crisis: All domestic commercial flights cancelled till March 31

Amid the rising cases of coronavirus across the country, the Union Civil Aviation Ministry has said no domestic commercial passenger flights will be allowed to operate in the country till March 31. The directions, aimed to restrict travel amid the coronavirus pandemic, came into effect from Tuesday midnight. India has already banned international flights for a week from Sunday. A statement by a ministry spokesperson in this regard read, "The operations of domestic schedule commercial airlines shall cease with effect from the midnight that is 23.59 hours IST (Indian Standard Time) on March 24, 2020."

"Airlines have to plan operations so as to land at their destinations before 23.59 hours on March 24, 2020," he said. 

However, the spokesperson clarified, the restrictions will not apply to cargo flights. 

Later during the day, the ministry issued an order stating that the ban would remain in force for domestic commercial passenger flights from 11. 

59 PM on Tuesday to 11.59 PM on March 31. 

Along with cargo flights, off-shore helicopter operations, medical evacuation flights or flights "specifically" approved by aviation regulator DGCA can operate as usual, the order said. 

"The above restrictions shall not apply to aircraft or helicopter belonging to or being operated on behalf of a state government or union territory," the ministry's order clarified. 

It stated that chartered flights of private aircraft operators will also not operate from midnight March 24 to March 31. 

"All airports shall continue to function for handling the permitted flight operations," the order said. 

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, airlines have seen a drastic reduction in their revenues, which has lead to paycuts and layoffs. 

GoAir has laid off its expat pilots, announced leave without pay for its employees and pay cut for its top leadership. 

Air India has cut allowances of its employees -- except cabin crew -- by 10 per cent. 

IndiGo has announced a pay cut of up to 25 per cent for its senior employees. 

Also Read | Stop flights from landing in Bengal, Mamata Banerjee urges PM Modi amid COVID-19 outbreak

Also Read | Coronavirus positive cases in Pakistan jump to 666; all international flights suspended​

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