Domestic airlines unlikely to resume operation after May 3

Airlines in India are unlikely to resume flying after May 3, when the lockdown is expected to end, as the government is concerned that this may increase the number of infection cases rapidly. Worth mentioning here is that total infection cases in India have crossed the 31,000 mark as of today with daily addition being around 1,500.

The aviation regulator had earlier advised airlines to keep all middle seats and last three rows vacant in order to follow social distancing norms once flying operation begins. But reports suggest that airlines are against leaving the middle seat empty while flying once the operations resume.

Airlines have appealed to the government to give relaxation on this social distancing norm. However, the government is not keen to give any relaxation on social distancing norms inside the aircraft. The Centre will take a final call after getting nod from the health ministry and ICMR.

As of now, it is quite certain that airlines and airports will have to strictly follow social distancing rules until the Covid-19 pandemic is fully over, as per a set of guidelines that the civil aviation regulator is formulating to safeguard public health.

Earlier this month, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had advised airlines to open bookings only after the government takes a decision on starting domestic and international commercial passenger flight services. “The Ministry of Civil Aviation clarifies that so far no decision has been taken to open domestic or international operations,” he wrote on Twitter.

“Airlines are advised to open their bookings only after a decision in this regard has been taken by the government,” Puri added.

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