Government will try to resume operations of international passenger flights before August, said Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Saturday, three days after announcing re-starting of domestic flights from May 25.
"I am fully hopeful that before August or September, we will try to start a good percentage of international civil aviation operations, if not complete international operations," Puri said during a Facebook live session.
The government suspended all commercial passenger flights from March 25 when nationwide lockdown was imposed to contain the rising number of coronavirus cases in the country.
I can't put a date on it (restarting international flights). But if somebody says can it be done by August or September, my response is why not earlier depending on what is the situation," he said.
National carrier Air India resumed bookings for domestic flights on May 22 at 12:30 pm .
On May 21, Civil Aviation Ministry issued the guidelines for airlines, airports, passengers and other stakeholders ahead of resumption of domestic passenger flights from May 25. The ministry said it has capped airfares in order to prevent any sudden spike or fall in airfares during the period of COVID-19 pandemic.
In a press briefing, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri announced Rs 3,500 as lower limit and Rs 10,000 as higher limit for a journey between 90-120 minutes. This is operative for 3 months - till one minute to midnight on August 24, 2020.
Besides capping airfares, the ministry has put restriction on capacity of flight operations initially. Flight operations will be scaled up in a calibrated manner, the notification said. "On the day of commencement (May 25), limited operations (about one-third) would be permitted," it said.
It said passengers will have to report at airport two hours prior to their flight's scheduled departure time and only those who have done web check-in will be allowed to enter the terminal building.
Only one check-in bag would be allowed and airlines will not provide any meal services in flights, the ministry said.
Boarding for a flight will commence 60 minutes before departure and boarding gate will be closed 20 minutes before departure, it said.
"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," it added.