As Prime Minister Narendra Modi has extended lockdown for 19 more days, Minister of Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri backed the government’s decision and said that it had good reasons for extending the lockdown.
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi has extended lockdown for 19 more days, Minister of Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri backed the government’s decision and said that it had good reasons for extending the lockdown. In a tweet shared hours after the Prime Minister’s announcement, Hardeep S Puri tweeted: “There were good reasons for the lockdown to be extended till 3rd May. We can consider lifting restrictions on both domestic and international flights thereafter.” As aviation is one of the worst hit sectors due to lockdown, the aviation minister also said that he is aware of the problems faced by people who need to travel.
Earlier, he had also said that his “heart goes out” to people who are suffering because of the lockdown and assured that the government will lift restrictions as soon as it is confident that the coronavirus situation is under control. The government had earlier imposed travel and flight restrictions to curb coronavirus menace in view of rising cases globally and in India.
Meanwhile, the government has deployed the airlines to carry relief work by flying essential medical equipment. “India’s civil aviation sector continues to play a key role in ensuring unhindered supply of medicines along with medical & essential cargo across the country,” the union minister said in a tweet recently. Major domestic carriers such as IndiGo and SpiceJet are now flying their aircraft to transport items. “407.40 tons of such cargo has been flown across 2,20,129 kms on 227 special flights since 26th March 2020,” Hardeep Singh Puri said.
The blow to the aviation sector is unlikely to heal in coming months as well and it is expected that coronavirus will continue to cast a sling shadow over the sector. With airlines under tremendous pressure, they started to announce salary cuts for employees to keep costs in check.