Air fares fixed for next 3 months, Delhi-Mumbai maximum fare 10,000

Updated on May 21, 2020 10:35 PM IST

The government has said it is time for India to open up following stringent measures for a nationwide lockdown for over two months.

The Centre has put limits on air fares in seven bands as per the flight durations and they would be in place till August 24, aviation minister Hardeep Puri said.
The Centre has put limits on air fares in seven bands as per the flight durations and they would be in place till August 24, aviation minister Hardeep Puri said.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByAnisha Dutta | Edited by Ashutosh Tripathi

The Centre has laid down the upper and lower limit of airfares for the airlines to follow over the next three months - till August - as domestic flights resume operations next Monday. Initially, only a third of operations will be allowed.

The government has said it is time for India to open up following stringent measures for a nationwide lockdown for over two months.

“Because the measures for lockdown were taken very early on in India, we have been able to escape the situation other countries have found themselves in. It is equally important that at some stage you will have to open up.

“Two months is a very long period of time. As you have to balance between lives and livelihood, it is time to now open up,” Puri said in a press conference on Thursday.

Flights in the domestic circuit will be scaled up gradually and depending upon the situation a decision on international travel will be taken, said the minister.

The Centre has put limits on air fares in seven bands as per the flight durations and they would be in place till August 24, Puri said.

The minister said the first band, which would have its specific lower and upper limits of air fare, will consist of flights that are of less than 40 minutes duration.

Second, third, fourth and fifth bands of upper limit would be flights with durations of 40-60 minutes, 60-90 minutes, 90-120 minutes and 120-150 minutes, he said.

The sixth and seventh bands, he added, would consist of flights with durations between 150-180 minutes and 180-210 minutes..

According to the ministry’s order, for operations from metro to metro cities, the airlines will be allowed to run flights on one third capacity of the approved schedule.

The metro cities refer to Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata.

Airlines have been directed to submit their revised domestic schedule to the Centre.

For operations from metro to non-metro cities and vice versa, where the weekly departures are less than 100 flights, airlines are free to operate any routes of the one third capacity of the approved summer schedule, the order stated, adding that for all other cities, airlines are free to operate any routes of the one third capacity of the approved summer schedule.

“Earlier the air carriers could put its range (minimum to maximum) on the website...we have looked at corresponding rail fares. We want air travel to become affordable. We have set a minimum fare, and a maximum fare. For Delhi to Mumbai the minimum fare would be 3,500 and maximum at 10,000. Forty percent of the tickets will be sold at the mid-point of this band. These tickets will be priced at around 6,700,” Puri said.

The civil aviation ministry also issued detailed guidelines for both the passengers and airlines to follow inside the airports and planes.

The government has advised elderly, pregnant women, and people with health issues to avoid travel. Passengers staying in the containment zone will not be allowed to travel.

Also, they should not travel if they have been tested positive for Covid-19, the guidelines said.

Those travelling will be required to wear the face mask and have been asked to reach the airport at least two hours before the departure. Only one check-in bag will be allowed and airlines will not provide meal services on board.

Passengers have been advised to familiarise themselves about the new procedures at the airport, especially about the norms of social distancing, minimum touch, baggage limitations, filing self declaration forms, registering on Aarogya Setu app, and using digital payments for authorised cabs.

The Centre has mandated the use of Aarogya Setu app for domestic air travel while children below the age of 14 have been exempted.

“In case of non-availability of Aarogya Setu app, the passenger should be facilitated to go to a counter provided by the airport where Aarogya Setu can be downloaded,” it said.

If a passenger does not have the Aarogya Setu app on her or his phone for some reason, she or he can give a self-declaration form, Puri said, adding that such a passenger will not be stopped from boarding the flight.

Puri also said passengers taking short distance flights would not need to quarantine upon reaching the destination state. However, according to the ministry’s guidelines on arrival at the destination airport “passengers will have to adhere to such health protocols as prescribed by the destination states/UTs”.

The Centre has also allowed flights to operate at full capacity. Puri said it was not possible to keep the middle seat vacant. “This is not an option being followed by any other country as well. We will keep our fingers crossed. We are also running our Vande Bharat Mission flights on full capacity and we have been managing well,” he said.

Resuming domestic flight services is seen as yet another step by the government in the direction of a graded exit from the lockdown which has been extended till the end of this month.

International flight operations have been suspended since March 22.

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