On resuming international flight ops, minister Hardeep Puri cites ‘several factors’
Domestic passenger flight services resumed in the country from May 25 after a break of two months since the first lockdown was announced on March 25.Updated: Jun 01, 2020 19:29 IST
As the airlines inch toward the critical mass of 50 to 60 percent operations in the domestic circuit, aviation minister Hardeep Puri underscored on Monday that it will help in their ability to resume international flights also. He added he will help “facilitate a calibrated reopening of the sector”.
International flights have been banned in the country since March 22. Soon after the Centre’s Unlock 1 guidelines, with an “economic focus”, allowed for reopening of the economy in a phased manner, the aviation regulator DGCA on Saturday said the suspension of scheduled international commercial passenger flights will continue till June 30.
Domestic passenger flight services resumed in the country from May 25 after a break of two months since the first lockdown was announced on March 25.
“MHA guidelines for lockdown 5.0 have further opened up inter & intra-state travel, will facilitate calibrated reopening of the sector. As we move towards the critical mass of 50-60% operation of domestic flights, our ability to resume international operations will also improve,” said Hardeep Puri.
Numerous citizens have been approaching us to restart international flights. Several factors need to be addressed.— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) June 1, 2020
Many international destinations are not allowing incoming passenger traffic, except for their own citizens or diplomats.
The minister cited the lockdown situation in many metros and how they are still in varying stages of opening up thus proving to be an impediment in resuming international flight operations.
“Within India, most international flights operate from the metros where travellers arrive from neighbouring cities & states. Our metro cities were under various degrees of lockdown which are beginning to be lifted. Some of them are still allowing only limited flights to operate,” said Puri.
International air travel, metro rail services, cinema halls, gyms, swimming pools, bars, entertainment parks, and auditoriums will remain closed and open only in the third phase. Large gatherings, including social, political, religious, and sporting events are also banned for now. The third phase of the un-lockdown plan will focus on the resumption of these activities. No date, however, has been set for this.
Another problem, as pointed out by the minister, is that many foreign destinations are not taking in incoming passengers.
“Numerous citizens have been approaching us to restart international flights. Several factors need to be addressed. Many international destinations are not allowing incoming passenger traffic, except for their own citizens or diplomats,” said he.
Earlier last month, the minister said if the situation improves and the “virus behaves in a predictable manner”, then the commercial international flight operations could start as early as the middle of June.