A day after announcing the resumption of domestic commercial passenger flights from May 25, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri held a press conference, speaking on a range of queries related to airlines, airports, and passengers.
The aviation minister also gave clarity on international flights. Puri said, "Based on our experience on opening up of domestic flights, we might have to tweak some procedures, only then we will think about international flights".
The minister also spoke about flight fares. The aviation ministry has set "minimum" and maximum" flight fares, he said. The minimum fare would be Rs 3,500 for a journey between 90-120 minutes, maximum fare would be Rs 10,000, he said.
It further added that 40 per cent of the seats will be sold at a fare less than the midpoint of the band. For instance, "midpoint of Rs 3,500 and Rs 10,000 is Rs 6,700. So 40 per cent of the seats have to be sold at a price less than Rs 6,700," Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola stated.
These guidelines will be operative for three months.
For passengers, the aviation minister advised avoiding last-minute arrival. Boarding for a flight will commence 60 minutes before departure and the boarding gate will close 20 minutes before departure, it said. The guidelines said passengers are expected to follow social distancing and sanitisation at all times from arrival to departure.
Those living in containment zones, won't be allowed air travel. Those who have been tested positive for COVID-19 will also not be allowed to travel.
Earlier, today, the Airport Authority of India (AAI) issued Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for airports to restart operations.
The airports have been advised to assign separate areas for isolation and COVID-19 testing for suspected passengers. Airports will have to ensure the easy availability of hand sanitisers at all entry points and touch-points. Take-away, digital payments, self-ordering booths at retail outlets will be encouraged to prevent crowding, it said.
The local and state governments have also been asked to ensure the availability of public transport for providing connectivity to the airport for passengers.
All scheduled commercial passenger flights have been suspended since March 25 when the nationwide coronavirus-induced lockdown came into force to combat the coronavirus pandemic.