In a bid to control the spread of coronavirus, the government on Thursday announced that no international flights will be allowed to land in India from March 22 for a week.
"No commercial aircraft shall land in India after midnight falling between March 21 and March 22 till midnight falling between March 28 and March 29," Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, said at a press conference.
"These are temporary measures being announced to contain the spread of Covid-19 virus and will be reviewed later," Agarwal added.
The government also issued an advisory and said that persons above 65 years of age have been asked to stay at home, except for government servants and medical professionals. Children below 10 years of age are also asked to stay indoors.
Besides, Railways and aviation sector will suspend all concessional travel, except students, patients and handicapable people.
Meanwhile, all states are also being advised to enforce work from home (WFH) for private sector employees.
According to global aviation consultancy CAPA, the private domestic carriers are expected to report consolidated losses of up to $600 million (Rs 4,500 crore) in March quarter due to the curtailed flight schedules, slide in new bookings, large-scale cancellations, and rescheduling of flights in the wake of coronavirus.
As of now, the biggest impact has been felt on the international side of the carriers like IndiGo, Air India, SpiceJet, GoAir and Vistara. But as the panic of community transmission of Covid-19 grows in India, there's a strong possibility of domestic airlines curtailing their domestic flight schedules as well.
Some reports suggest the central government is mulling over $1.6 billion rescue package for the aviation industry, which has been one of the worst affected sectors due to coronavirus.
By Chitranjan Kumar