India will approve international flights on a case by case basis post lockdown, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said today.
Terming the situation arising due to the spread of novel coronavirus as “unprecedented,” Puri said that the airlines and airports are working in innovative ways whether it is about handling thousands of passengers at airports before lockdown or transporting cargo material during lockdown.
In a presser via video conference, Puri said that the ministry is working with the understanding that lockdown will end by mid-April and then, flights will resume but international flights will be resumed on a case by case basis.
India banned all scheduled International passenger flights to land in India from March 23 and the ban has now been extended till the completion of the lockdown period, i.e. April 14.
As per a DGCA order, the government had barred all scheduled International passenger aircraft to depart for India after 5.30 am IST of March 22 and had given them travel time of 20 hours.
Domestic flights were also suspended from March 25 after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day lockdown for India until April 14.
In the case of domestic flights, the government said that it has not issued any new directive to the airlines and it is working ahead with the understanding that lockdown period will end by mid-April.
“It is all up to the airlines. Airlines should judge the situation. If passengers make bookings and lockdown ends by mid-April, then those bookings will be honoured. If there is a situation of lockdown extension, then the airlines will have similar arrangement as they had for bookings made till April 14,” aviation secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola said.
In view of the sudden decision of 21-day lockdown, domestic airlines and travel agents found themselves in a difficult situation for all the bookings made for travel between March 25 and April 14. Hence, airlines decided to waive cancellation fee and the entire booking fare has been kept as credit for the passengers to be used later for bookings post lockdown.As of now, India has reported a total of 1,965 positive cases. The first positive case in India was reported on Jan 30 and the person had travel history to Wuhan, the epicentre of COVID-19. Most deaths related to novel coronavirus have been reported in Italy, followed by Spain and the US, among other countries.
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