The Narendra Modi years have witnessed a fundamental and paradigmatic shift in civil aviation — it has changed from an elitist mode of transportation to one which is within the reach of all Indians, in tune with the Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) philosophy.
As the reach and scale of our civil aviation operations have increased, the expectations of our citizens from the sector have also risen significantly. Following the recommencement of domestic civil aviation operations in a staggered manner from May 25, 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 of their own citizens or diplomats. Within India, most international flights operate from the metros where travellers arrive from neighbouring cities and states. All our metro cities were under various degrees of lockdown which are beginning to be lifted only now. Some of them are still allowing only 25 flights or so to take-off and land every day.
The Ministry of Home Affairs guidelines for lockdown 5.0 announced on May 30, which have further opened up inter-state and intra-state travel, will facilitate the gradual and calibrated reopening of the sector.
As we move towards the critical mass of 50-60 per cent operation of domestic flights, our ability to resume international operations will also improve.