Domestic air travel resumed on Monday after two months of heavy lockdown. The only planes that had flown during this long two-month period were the emergency and military flights and repatriation services operated by Indian and foreign governments. On Monday, however, around 630 domestic flights were cancelled due to the Centre’s Sunday night announcement that there would not be any flights in West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh. It was decided on Sunday that airports in cyclone-hit West Bengal will not operate on May 25 and 27 but will handle 20 flights each daily from May 28.
The West Bengal government has, thus, resumed the domestic flights in the state from yesterday, i.eMay 28. The state government has also issued guidelines for domestic air travels that require all passengers to submit self-declaration forms on arrival and monitor their health for 14 days.
It should be noted that at least 23 people who have flown over the last three days have tested positive for COVID-19. The first case was reported on an IndiGo flight from Chennai to Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu. The second case was from an Air India’s Alliance Air flight from Delhi to Ludhiana in Punjab. In another case, two passengers who flew with SpiceJet from Ahmedabad in Gujarat to Guwahati in Assam tested positive on May 27. Some four air passengers who landed in Jammu were also tested positive between May 25 and 26. One more case was reported on Thursday morning on IndiGo, where a passenger who flew from Bengaluru to Madurai tested positive on May 27. Later six passengers who flew from Bengaluru to Coimbatore on May 27 and another two who flew from Delhi to Coimbatore, also on May 27, tested positive. Again Six passengers who flew from Chennai to Salem in Tamil Nadu tested positive yesterday, on May 28.
The aviation sector can be considered to be among the worst-hit during the coronavirus pandemic. As for the international flights, India has already released guidelines for passengers arriving in the country from abroad. Indian nationals arriving from abroad can enter the country only through the flights arranged by the Ministry of Civil Aviation through the Vande Bharat Mission. However, the country is yet to resume international flights. Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri stated, “We will try to start a good percentage of international passenger flights before August.”
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