The upper and lower limits on airfares are likely to be extended beyond August 24 depending on how the coronavirus situation evolves over the period, Aviation Secretary P S Kharola said on Saturday. In May, the government had placed upper and lower limits on airfares depending upon the flight duration. It had said on May 21 that these limits would be in place for a period of three months. The airlines had resumed operations for domestic travellers on May 25 after nearly two months of suspension due to coronavirus lockdown. "Depending on how the situation turns out, the fare band may have to adjust beyond that (August 24) also. But right now, it is only for three months," Kharola also told reporters.
Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said that during phase 3 and phase 4 of the mission, private domestic airlines have been approved to operate 750 international flights to repatriate people stranded amid the coronavirus pandemic. Air India has planned 300 flights under phase-3, phase-4 of Vande Bharat Mission, he added. "Close to 2,75,000 Indians, who were stranded in foreign countries, have been brought back to the country in flights and ships during the lockdown," Puri said.
Meanwhile, around 0.03 per cent (341 passengers) of around 12.4 lakh domestic passengers who travelled between May 25 and June 15 were found to be positive for coronavirus. The government started flight services after May 25, after around two months of lockdown. Since then, as many as 13,554 flights have operated in the Indian airspace till June 15, a recent report said. Of all the airlines, around 186 IndiGo passengers tested positive during this period, of which 6 lakh passengers flew with the airline.