Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri informed on Saturday that a total of 513 domestic flights were operated on May 29 and a total of 39,969 passengers were transported via these flights. Moreover, a total of 79,941 people have been to airports on the same day. Between May 25 and May 28, a total of 1,827 flights were reportedly operated. This includes 428 flights on Monday, 445 flights on Tuesday, 460 flights on Wednesday, and 494 flights on Thursday.
Aviation industry sources had revealed that around 3,000 flights operate in India on a daily basis, prior to the nationwide lockdown that was imposed owing to the Coronavirus outbreak. As per the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), about 4.12 lac passengers commuted daily via flights during the said period.
States with a high number of active Coronavirus cases have been directed to operate limited flights. They include West Bengal, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu. Owing to the relief work carried out in the State following cyclone Amphan, it meant that West Bengal began operating flights only on May 28. As per reports, 16 asymptomatic Coronavirus patients had been identified on 7 different flights, since the operations began.
Domestic civil aviation ops continue smoothly. Day 5 on 29 May till 2359 hrs-Departures 513&39,969 passengers handled, Arrivals 512&39,972 passengers handled. Total movements-1,025 with 79,941 footfalls at airports. Total number of flyers 39,969: HS Puri, Union Civil Aviation Min pic.twitter.com/F7GklFuSmC— ANI (@ANI) May 30, 2020
Domestic Operations to normalise, post Diwali, says Hardeep Singh Puri
In an interview with the Economic Times, Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had informed that domestic flight operations would normalise by Diwali i.e. in the month of November. He said, “We will have all our 650 flights operated by Indian carriers.” Puri also stated that the recovery rate from the deadly Coronavirus was higher in India than that of other countries.
The Aviation Minister assured that the sector which had suffered losses amidst the lockdown would recover fast, owing to a huge captive market and the need for passengers to travel. He, however, conceded that the disinvestment plan regarding India’s national carrier, Air India, might be differed.
Interestingly, on Thursday, Karnataka urged the Union Government to reduce the number of incoming flights from the Coronavirus-affected States such as Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh. International flights were restricted on March 14 whereas domestic flight operations remained suspended from March 25 to May 24.
Domestic Flights resume Operations in India
On May 20, the Narendra Modi Government had announced that domestic flight operations would resume operations, in a calibrated manner, from 25 May. The Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said that all the standard operating protocols (SOPs) for passenger movement was also being separately issued by the Ministry of Civil Aviation. The SOP stated that initially only one terminal should be used in airports, with more than one terminal. The larger terminal would be reduced to ensure proper sanitation, considering the limited availability of material resources.