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Offering free tickets on Vande Bharat flights would have further affected airlines' finances: Puri

Offering tickets free of cost on flights under the Vande Bharat mission would have further affected the finances of Indian airlines including Air India, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Monday.

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New Delhi Published on: September 21, 2020 17:14 IST
Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri
Image Source : PTI

Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri

Offering tickets free of cost on flights under the Vande Bharat mission would have further affected the finances of Indian airlines including Air India, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Monday. The finances of airlines have been hugely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

In a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha, Puri said, "The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on the entire global civil aviation sector. In view of stoppage/restrictions in both domestic/international flights, Air India and other Indian carriers are also in a financially distressed condition."

"If tickets would have been offered free of cost, it would have further affected the finances and viability of Air India and other Indian carriers," the minister noted.

The Central government had started the Vande Bharat mission on May 6 to help stranded people reach their destinations through special international flights on payment basis. Scheduled international passenger flights have been suspended in India since March 23.

Between May 6 and August 31, a total of 5,817 inbound flights have been operated under the Vande Bharat mission from various countries, Puri said. 

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