NEW DELHI: Two months after the lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, more than a thousand flights were set to take off on Monday. The Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri tweeted that, "It has been a long day of hard negotiations with various state governments to recommence civil aviation operations in the country." All the domestic flights will start across the country from today except for Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal. He said that there will be limited flights from Mumbai and as per approved one-third schedule from other airports in the state.
Limited operations to West Bengal will start from 28th May, 2020. He further added that, the operations in Andhra Pradesh will start on a limited scale from 26th May. For Tamil Nadu, there will be a maximum of 25 arrivals in Chennai but there's no limit on the number of departures.
Mumbai airport allows only 50 flights on Monday whereas Chennai and Hyderabad are likely to limit the flight numbers. Vijayawada and Vizag will allow flights from Tuesday. Instead of 1,170 daily flights and 8,216 domestic weekly flights, there will be only 600 flights on Monday. India’s busiest airport, New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International (IGIA), will handle 190 departures and 190 arrivals, on Monday.
A senior airline official said that, “Though the resumption of flight operations is welcomed by airlines, it could have been planned better to avoid inconvenience to passengers with certain states disallowing domestic flight operations."
According to the SOP guidelines prepared by the Airports Authority of India (AAI), only limited food and beverage shops will be allowed to open at airports. The spa centres and massage chair facilities will remain closed and alcohol will not be permitted unless authorised by local administrations. There will be a 1 to 1.5 metre distance between passengers and every alternate seat is free for departing passengers.
Staff will also be maintained near washrooms, X-ray machines, conveyor belts to implement social distancing among passengers. The government of India has announced strict protocols for non-resident Indians to fly abroad. International flight operations are likely to resume in the next few days.