Bookings closed for domestic, international travel till Apr 30: Air India
National carrier Air India on Friday stopped advance bookings for all flights till April 30 even as the lockdown is in effect till April 14.
“Air India bookings are now closed till April 30. We are awaiting a decision post April 14, “ an Air India official said.
To be sure, bookings for both domestic and international flights of only Air India have been stopped while private airlines continue to take advance bookings from April 15 onward.
“Air India is a commercial organisation and needs to consider scenarios in case of advance books and cancellations in case the lockdown is extended. We don’t even know right now if the lockdown will be lifted phase wise or not. For now we are going to wait till April 14 and in case the lockdown is not extended bookings can begin the same day,” a senior government official said requesting anonymity.
All modes of conveyance, including rail traffic, road and air transport, have been suspended after the lockdown came into effect. Initially, international flights were suspended for a week from March 22 but later extended until April 15 coinciding with the lockdown. Domestic flights were suspended from the day the lockdown started on March 25.
Centre had dismissed the reports that claimed that the lockdown will be extended.
This also comes a day after union civil aviation minister Hardeep Puri had said India will consider resuming international flight operations on a case-by-case basis from April 15. Airlines are open to start advance bookings as per their own discretion and contingency plan, the minister had said.
“The ministry is proceeding on the understanding that the lockdown is in place till April 15. There is no directive from the ministry about the contingency planning of airlines. But, as an eternal optimist, I am hoping that on April 15, flights can at least start, if not all, then in a calibrated manner. But that is a decision that we still need to take,” Puri had said Thursday.
At present advance booking for trains from April 15 onward are also open.
“Certain media reports have claimed that Railways has started reservation for post-lockdown period. It is to clarify that reservation for journeys post April 14 was never stopped and is not related to any new announcement,” the ministry of railways said in a statement.