With new rules and price capping, Govt resumes domestic flights in India
After almost two months of nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of Coronavirus pandemic, the Modi government on Thursday announced the resumption of domestic flights starting from May 25. Air travel will be reopening on over 350 routes across the country, including metro cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Bengaluru.
Keeping in mind the safety of passengers and airline crew, the Civil Aviation Ministry has issued detailed standard operating procedures to carry out smooth operations of domestic flights amid pandemic fear. From ensuring minimal physical contact to mandatory use of the Aarogya Setu app, a slew of guidelines has been provided by the ministry for passengers, flight crew, airport operators, and other stakeholders that will undoubtedly transform the flying experience in the post-lockdown world.
Airlines have been asked to implement the health protocols and to run flights with only one-third of the usual capacity. It is important for airline operators to keep the flight thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. Passengers are required to reach the airport 2 hours ahead of boarding their flights. It is mandatory for them to keep their masks and hand gloves on all the time, along with the Aarogya Setu app installed in their smartphones. Only web check-ins will be allowed with one cabin and check-in back each for every passenger. No meals or newspaper-magazines will be provided during the flight. Airport security staff are required to ensure minimum touch to reduce physical contact with passengers.
In order to control the fare of air tickets, the Aviation Ministry has restricted the prices between minimum Rs 2,000 and maximum Rs 18,600in seven bands depending on the duration of the flight for the next three months until August 24.
As per the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), flights under 40 minutes will have a price range from Rs 2,000 to Rs 6,000.
For flights operating between 40-60 minutes, the fare limit has been fixed between a minimum Rs 2,500 to maximum Rs 7,500. Flights with a duration between 60-90 minutes have been priced between Rs 3,000 and 9,000.
Air travel between 90-120 minutes, such as the Delhi-Mumbai route, is priced from 3,500 to Rs 10,000.
Flights between 120-150 minutes will be having a fare range between Rs 4,500 and Rs 13,000.
Flights with a duration between 150 and 180 minutes will have a price limit of lowest Rs 5,500 and the highest at Rs 15,700.
Lastly, flights between 180 and 210 minutes are priced between Rs 6,500 and Rs 18,600.
Furthermore, airlines have to sell at least 40 percent of the tickets below the median price. Significantly, restarting of airline operation will help in mitigating the economic losses that the industry is facing in the aftermath of weeks of shutdown. Civil aviation minister Hardeep Puri has asserted that the passengers will have to brace themselves for slow movement at the airport, adding that there will be no quarantine for domestic flight travelers and crew after the travel. Several airlines including Air India and indigo have already started taking bookings for domestic flights from today.
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