The central government may resume international flight operations on selected routes during the second phase of unlock (Unlock 2.0), which starts from July 1, India Today TV reported. With Unlock 1.0 due to conclude on June 30, the Centre may soon issue fresh guidelines for Unlock 2.0.
As per the report, international flights on the New Delhi-New York, Mumbai-New York routes are likely to be allowed to resume in Unlock 2.0. Besides, private airlines may also be allowed to start operations to the Gulf countries, the report said.
Last week, Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had said that regular international flight services can be resumed when the domestic traffic reaches about 50-60 per cent and when other countries open up to international traffic without present conditionalities.
"We can start regular international flights when our domestic traffic reaches about 50-60 per cent and other countries open up to international traffic without present conditionalities," Puri had said in a tweet.
Puri had earlier said that India will take a decision on resumption of international passenger flights in July if coronavirus behaves in a "predictable manner" and the entire aviation ecosystem and state governments are onboard.
All commercial passenger flights in India were suspended on March 25 when the nationwide lockdown was first imposed to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. Domestic flight operations resumed "in a calibrated manner" on May 25 after a two-month shutdown. International passenger flights, however, continue to remain suspended.
On June 18, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his virtual meeting with chief ministers, had asked states and union territories to get ready for Unlock 2.0 while being careful of challenges.
By Chitranjan Kumar