Domestic passenger flights will resume from Monday (May 25) “in a calibrated manner”, the government said on Wednesday. Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said that there may be fewer flights but “it is not viable” to keep the middle seat vacant as ticket prices would shoot up. Sources say the government has discussed capping airfares.
Flights were stopped in late March, when the country went into lockdown since March 24 to prevent the spread of coronavirus pandemic.
Hardeep Singh Puri in a tweet said, “Domestic civil aviation operations will recommence in a calibrated manner from Monday 25th May 2020. All airports and air carriers are being informed to be ready for operations from 25th May.”
SOPs for passenger movement and details of flights are expected to be announced today.
While the government, as well as airlines, have talked about a “new normal” when flights start again, with fewer passengers in a flight, Puri made it clear that it would not be possible to keep the middle seat vacant, which had been one of the suggestions for ensuring physical distancing to avoid the infection.
Airports have started preparing for flights amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
Most airports are already functional as cargo flights, those for medical evacuation and special flights to repatriate Indians stranded abroad have been operating during the lockdown.