Giving hope to thousands of air travellers at this time of COVID-19, Civil Aviation Minister of India, Hardeep Singh Puri recently said that the bulk of pre-COVID-19 domestic air passenger traffic could be restored by Diwali this year.
Giving further details, Puri added that the Centre is planning to allow more flights from locations such as Kolkata and Mumbai. Due to the ongoing pandemic, these two important airports have had restricted operations for the past many months. Planning a trip? ixigo always has exciting deals on flight bookings. Check all the deals and promotional offers before booking your tickets.
Flight operations are currently limited to 100 flights per day at the Mumbai Airport (ChhatrapatiShivajiMaharaj International Airport). Also, flights to Kolkata from cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Nagpur, and Ahmedabad had been restricted until 31st August 2020.
“The figure (of domestic passengers) yesterday was 98,800, so we have already reached 33% of pre-Covid numbers. We are increasing domestic passengers at the rate of 5,000 a week. With Mumbai hopefully having Covid numbers under control, the graph stable and coming down, I’m hoping that after the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations, we will open up Mumbai more; Bengaluru, Kolkata will be a little less sporadic. We will be looking to touch the 50% mark before too long,” Puri said at an online event.
By Diwali this year, “we should be getting a bulk of our civil aviation traffic back in form”, the Minister added.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation has allowed operation of airlines only up to 45% of their pre-Covid capacities.
Note: The cap was 35% when flights resumed on 25th May 2020.
Did you know? Aviation industry is among the worst impacted sectors by the outbreak of COVID-19 and the lockdowns all over the world. It is projected that India’s airline industry in 2020-21 (April-March) had a loss of around $4-4.5 billion.
However, all airlines could be saved if operations resume as quickly as possible, and the government is “navigating its way forward” on this.
All airlines are in different financial positions. Some airlines were under strain even prior to COVID-19. Whereas, some airlines are in a better position because the airlines are tied to bigger business establishments.
The number of domestic passengers was 98,800 on 23rd August and that over 33% of pre-COVID figures have been achieved. The number of domestic passengers in India has been increasing at the rate of 5,000 a week.
About international flights: The flight operations will depend on the behaviour of the virus.“I cannot anticipate whether countries will allow people from India in, but we have gone ahead and made the best out of a very difficult situation, navigated through turbulence, and today we have air bubbles with the US, Canada, the UK, France, Germany. I have announced 13 more,” he added.
How things are changing: India started with a mandatory 14-day quarantine which included 7 days institutional and 7 days home quarantine. Now, if a traveler is carrying a certificate of an RT-PCR test done in the last 96 hours one can go through the green channel. The country is opening up new techniques so that everyone moves towards normalcy. To get the best price on your flight ticket, visit ixigo and explore all the amazing offers.
India is negotiating with 13 more countries which includes Australia, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Nigeria, Bahrain, Israel, Kenya, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand to establish separate air bubble arrangements for international flight operations. Under a bilateral air bubble agreement, both countries can operate to and fro flights with some restrictions.
Air bubbles have also been proposed with countries like Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Nepal, and Bhutan. The minister said, “Going forward, we will consider such arrangements with other countries as well.”
What is a bilateral air bubble? It refers to a travel corridor between 2 countries that wish to reopen their borders and re-establish connections with each other.
Did you know? Till now more than 6 million people have reached their homes safely via flights.
At present, our country has international air travel arrangements under bilateral air bubbles in place with countries like the US, UK, France, Germany, UAE, Qatar, and the Maldives.
Also, in a welcome move, India has begun lifting restrictions on the categories of travellers who can travel to and from countries with which air bubbles have been established.
This decision now will allow Indian nationals to travel to countries with ‘air bubble’ arrangements on any type of visa. This move will surely relieve stranded travellers, as well as give a much-needed push to the international travel sector.
The Union Ministry of Civil Aviation recently announced that the phase 6 of Vande Bharat Mission will commence from 1st September 2020, Air India Express has already started the flight bookings from India to Doha between 1st September to 30th September.
Also, Air India will fly 27 additional flights under Vande Bharat Mission which will provide non-stop connection to Frankfurt from Delhi & Bengaluru, besides the existing flights which will start from 1st to 25th October 2020.