Domestic flight services have resumed in India but many flyers were left disappointed on Monday as several flights were cancelled. Flights were cancelled at airports in Delhi, Hyderabad and Bengaluru. At Indira Gandhi International Airport (Del) in the national capital, as many as 82 flights have been cancelled, sources in Delhi Airport Authority told Financial Express Online. At Kempegowda International airport (BLR) in Bengaluru, 9 flights were cancelled till 9 am. At Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (HYD) in Hyderabad, IndiGo flight to Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport (GAU) in Guwahati and Air India flight to Bengaluru were cancelled. At Biju Patnaik International Airport (BBI) at Bhubaneswar, five flights were cancelled, as per ANI report.
Why flights were cancelled?
Minister of Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri announced on May 20 that domestic flight operations across the country would resume in a “calibrated manner” from May 25. Commercial operations of domestic and international flights were suspended by the Central government from March 24, with an aim to contain the spread of coronavirus pandemic in the country.
Airlines started the bookings for around 1,050 domestic flights. These flights were planned for Monday i.e May 25. However, the revised measures announced on Sunday have led to the cancellation of several flights leaving hundreds of passengers disappointed, as per PTI report. Initially, the flight schedule was made for all airports in the states.
However, following the central government’s announcements of resumption of domestic flights services, many state governments started to express reservations over the move. West Bengal government categorically stated that it would allow flight services gradually from May 28. Maharashtra had said that 25 take-offs and 25 landings per day would be allowed at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (BOM) in Mumbai. Tamil Nadu government also made it clear that incoming domestic passenger flights would be restricted to 25 at Chennai International Airport (MAA). Andhra Pradesh too did not allow any flights on Monday at Vijayawada and Vizag airports.
Apart from these, states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Bihar, Kerala, Assam, Punjab, and Andhra Pradesh have also issued their respective quarantine measures for passengers arriving at their airports.
The central government had last week announced specific rules and guidelines– wearing of face masks by passengers, no food served on board planes and making available details of medical conditions by travellers through the Aarogya Setu app or by filling up of a self-declaration form. It had also announced a cap on ticket pricing for domestic flights. For ticket pricing, the Civil Aviation Ministry had classified flight routes into seven groups. 1) Flight time less than 40 minutes, 2) 40 – 60 minutes, 3) 60 – 90 minutes, 4) 90 – 120 minutes, 5) 120 – 150 minutes, 6) 150 – 180 minutes, 7) 180 – 210 minutes. All routes within the country fall within these 7 groups.