Hours before domestic flights resume, Thackeray seeks more time for Mumbai airport
The chief minister also emphasised that the minimum possible domestic flights should be allowed from Maharashtra.Updated: May 24, 2020 18:04 IST
Barely fifteen hours before domestic flight services resume in the country on a staggered basis from Monday, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday said that the state needed more time from the Civil Aviation Ministry for restarting operations at the Mumbai International Airport.
The chief minister also emphasised that the minimum possible domestic flights should be allowed from Maharashtra.
“I spoke to Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri today and told him that the Mumbai international airport needs more time to resume domestic flight operations,” Uddhav Thackeray said in an online news briefing.
“Till the time MIAL (Mumbai International Airport Limited) plans and fine-tunes the airport operations, the aviation ministry should initiate minimum possible domestic flights from Maharashtra from May 25, which are purely emergent in nature like for international transfer of passengers, medical emergencies, students, and cases on compassionate grounds,” the Maharashtra chief minister said.
The Shiv Sena chief also indicated that at least 13 more international flights would be landing at the Mumbai airport by June 7.
Earlier this month, the Civil Aviation ministry had announced resumption of domestic flight services from May 25 as part of the Centre’s efforts to gradually open air travel.
Domestic and international flights had been suspended nearly two months ago in March due to the nationwide lockdown imposed to stop the spread of the coronavirus infection.
According to Maharashtra government officials, the state has not yet amended its May 19 lockdown order which allowed only certain kinds of flights to ply.
The Maharashtra government had only excluded domestic medical services, domestic air ambulance and flights for security purposes from the lockdown as permitted by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
Maharashtra happens to be the worst-hit by the coronavirus pandemic, with Covid-19 positive cases touching 47,190 on Saturday. At least 1,577 people have succumbed to the deadly coronavirus infection so far in the state.
Mumbai alone has over 28,000 coronavirus positive patients with the death toll in the city at 949.