Airlines have received permissions to resume domestic flight operations from May 25 in a calibrated manner in India after two months of lockdown. However, the government has made sure that they follow the new ticket price guidelines so that fares don't jump out of control. Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, in a press conference, said the fare structure has been decided in such a way that it benefits both flyers and airlines.
Puri said, "Flight durations have been divided in 7 categories - 0-30 minutes, 30-60 minutes, 60-90 minutes, 90-120 minutes, 120-150 minutes, 150-180 minutes, and 180-210 minutes... For example, the minimum fare for a Delhi-Mumbai flight will be Rs 3,500 and the maximum fare will be Rs 10,000. This will be applicable for three months."
Additionally, to ensure that airlines are not selling tickets at higher prices at all times, the minister added that nearly 40 per cent of the seats on a flight must be sold at a price less than 50 per cent of the price band. For example, the mean average of Rs 3,500 and Rs 10,000 is Rs 6,700, so around 40 per cent total seats on a flight have to be sold for less than Rs 6,700.
Meanwhile, airlines are allowed to resume about a third of their operations from Monday, with additional rules like no meals onboard, temperature checks for all passengers and full protective gear for the crew.
Additionally, the Aviation Minister also refuted reports of any special social distancing rules onboard flights and said, "At the moment, the decision has been taken that the middle seat will not be left vacant."
According to the new guidelines issued by Civil Aviation Ministry, passengers will have to report at least two hours before their flight's scheduled departure time at the airport and only those who have already completed web check-in will be allowed to enter the terminal.
It also added that "A self-declaration or Aarogya Setu App status would also be obtained that the passenger is free of COVID-19 symptoms. Passenger with 'red' status in Aarogya Setu App would not be permitted to travel."