The government had earlier announced that passenger flights will resume after midnight of April 14-15, unless the lockdown is extended, in which case all flights would be cancelled. The international flights will resume in a gradual manner and not all at once, allowing passengers, mostly Indians who are stranded in foreign countries, to fly back to India. The schedule and frequency of the flights will be decided by the health and home ministry officials on a country to country basis.
"Even before international flights were suspended on March 22, there were restrictions on people coming to India (similar to those adopted by many other countries) depending on the corona situation there. Unless the lockdown is extended, the health ministry will decide which all countries are safe enough (corona-wise) to allow people to fly from there to India starting April 15," said aviation secretary PS Kharola in a video conference on Sunday, reported The Times of India.
According to the daily, airlines in their internal notices have told employees that whenever the lockdown ends, the chances of domestic flights operating is much higher than international flights. International flights would be more of a gradual affair than an immediate one.
In a video conference organized by the Aviation Ministry, Air India Chairman Rajiv Bansal said that Air India has signed a contract with four nations to operate evacuation flights that will fly the stranded citizens of these countries out of India. The daily reports that 10 flights to Germany, six to Canada, one to France and one to Ireland will take citizens of these countries back. These special flights started on Wednesday with German nationals flying back to Frankfurt.
"We have been approached by some countries through their embassies in Delhi to operate special charter to flying heir citizens back home. We will be operating 18 such flights to the four countries. These flights out of India will be carrying their citizens on the way back to India, the aircraft will not have any cargo or any passenger (ferry flight)," said Bansal in the video conference, reports the daily.