After giving its nod for resuming domestic flights from May 25, the Centre is aiming to re-start international flights by mid-June, June-end or July, amidst the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Speaking to reporters Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri asserted that India will try to start a good percentage of international flights before August, if not the entire civil aviation.
Responding to a question Puri said, “My answer to that question is why August or September? Let us at least in this interaction say that we must have a more ambitious goal. Why not start by June-mid, June-end or July.”
“Mujhe puri umeed hai ki yeh jo prashn mein date di gayi hai August-September, humari toh koshish yehi rahegi ki usse bohut hi pehle hum agar puri international civil aviation nahi toh kam se kam a good percentage we can start. (The date that is being referred to in this question of August-September, we will strive to start a good percentage of international flights, if not the entire civil aviation, way before August-September),” added Puri.
The minister also said, “I’m an optimist. Why wait till August or September? If the situation eases or improves, by that I mean if the virus behaves in a predictable manner, and we get used to the idea of being able to coexist with the virus and we’re in a position to make arrangements. So far Vande Bharat has moved very well. I’m confident that domestic flights when they start on Monday (May 25) they will also proceed well.”
India will resume domestic flight services as part of the Centre’s gradual reboot of air travel that was halted two months ago on account of a lockdown imposed to stop the spread of the COVID-19. Puri had said, ”There’s no contradiction between domestic flights beginning from May 25 and lockdown in India being imposed till May 31.”
The Minister also said that the Centre is planning to bring back Indian citizens from Sri Lanka either by ship or flights. Discussions are at an advanced stage, the Aviation Minister said. He also recommended ”Aarogya Setu app for everyone” saying, ”it’s an excellent contact-tracing device.”
According to reports, the first domestic flight will take off from Terminal 3 of Delhi airport around 4.30 early morning. In the first phase, 28 domestic flights will take off from Delhi for various destinations across the country.
The air travellers have been advised to carry their boarding passes along with them. It has also been made mandatory for the air travellers to upload the Aarogya Setu App in the mobile phones failing which they will have to sign an undertaking that they are free from Coronavirus infection.