Low-cost carrier GoAir is gearing up to take to the skies from May 4 in a phased manner with new operating procedures, according to an official statement released on Thursday.
"GoAir is in full preparation mode for a gradual commencement of flights from 4 May 2020," the airline's chief executive Vinay Dube said in the statement.
The airline said it has enhanced all of its cleaning procedures in the interest of customers' and employees' health and safety. The Wadia Group-controlled carrier said it will take maximum health and safety measures when it restarts operations, including social distancing measures, longer check-in time for passengers, longer turnaround time in between flights to thoroughly disinfect the fleet along with suspension of all onboard sales to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
"We are going above and beyond the government recommendations in an effort to ensure maximum health and safety measures are undertaken as we gradually emerge from this unimaginable and unprecedented global crisis," Dube added.
Apart from GoAir, rivals, Vistara and IndiGo, have also announced plans to resume flight operations from 4 May, after the completion of the nationwide lockdown.
GoAir suspended all international operations, starting March 17 to April 15, which has been further extended till May 3. Domestic flights in India were suspended on March 25 in wake of travel restrictions due to the outspread of COVID-19 pandemic.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 14 announced that the nation-wide lockdown will be extended for 19 more days till May 3. Originally, the 21-day nation-wide lockdown was to end on April 14.
GoAir flies to 35 destinations, including eight international ones. The overseas destinations are Phuket, Male, Muscat, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Bangkok, Kuwait, and Dammam.
After suspension of international operations, GoAir announced a pay cut in March salary amid grounding of operations due to coronavirus outbreak. GoAir also deferred a part of March salaries for its staff in addition to salary cuts implemented earlier.
India's aviation industry, reeling from the impact of the global outbreak of COVID-19, is seeking help from the government to mitigate the financial impact of the pandemic. COVID-19 driven lockdowns have adversely impacted the industry, leading to significant economic headwinds. Several airlines, both in India and abroad, have been forced to undertake severe measures amidst tough market conditions to mitigate the financial impact of the pandemic.
By Chitranjan Kumar