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Home / India News / Aim to restart international flights before August: Puri

Aim to restart international flights before August: Puri

Amid the pandemic, a few states have questioned the move to restart domestic services, civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri admitted, adding that some hesitation was expected even as the Centre has been trying to meet their concerns.

india Updated: May 24, 2020 08:18 IST
Agencies
Agencies
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
All scheduled commercial passenger flights have been suspended in India since March 25 when the Modi government imposed a lockdown to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
All scheduled commercial passenger flights have been suspended in India since March 25 when the Modi government imposed a lockdown to contain the coronavirus pandemic.(ANI file photo )

India will try to restart a good percentage of international passenger flights before August, civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Saturday said, three days after announcing resumption of domestic flights from May 25.

Amid the pandemic, a few states have questioned the move to restart domestic services, he admitted, adding that some hesitation was expected even as the Centre has been trying to meet their concerns.

The minister, while addressing a FacebookLive session, clarified again that Aarogya Setu app is not mandatory for air passengers and they can instead give a self-declaration form.

Puri said during the session, “I can’t put a date on it (restarting international flights). But if somebody says can it be done by August or September? My response is why not earlier depending on what is the situation.”

When asked about the minister’s comment on resuming international services, Vistara said it will await instructions from the Civil Aviation Ministry. Other airlines did not respond.

“I am fully hopeful that before August or September, we will try to start a good percentage of international civil aviation operations, if not complete international operations,” he said. “We must have a more ambitious goal. Why not start them by mid-June or June-end or in July.”

All scheduled commercial passenger flights have been suspended in India since March 25 when the Modi government imposed a lockdown to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

The minister said that the Vande Bharat Mission, which began on May 7, would be able to bring a total 50,000 Indians, who have been stranded abroad, home by the end of this month.

Between May 7 and May 21, around 23,000 Indians have been repatriated through flights operated by Air India and its subsidiary under this mission. Passengers have to pay to book a seat on any repatriation flight being operated under the mission.

“If you do not have Aarogya Setu app, you can give a self-declaration form,” Puri said.

The passenger can get tested for the virus two or three days before departure, get that medical certificate, and just fill in the form, Puri noted.”If you have the app, and if you have got yourself tested for Covid-19 and found negative, and if you do not show symptoms, then I think there is no need for quarantine,” he said.

While most states are ready, Puri said few states have talked to his “senior colleagues (ministers) and questioned the necessity of restarting domestic flights so soon”.

“They said the Centre should delay it further by 2-3 days. So, they (ministers) asked the states to send the concerns in writing. But the states did not. This will keep going on. When we are dealing with a situation like this, we should expect that there would be some hesitation. But it is our (Centre’s) responsibility and we should make efforts to make those concerns,” he said

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