After some initial hiccups, India on Monday, 25 May, resumed domestic passenger flight services, exactly two months after these operations were suspended due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Passenger airline services were suspended on 25 March due to the nationwide lockdown, to check the COVID-19 spread.
A total of 832 domestic flights were operated which ferried 58,318 passengers across the country. Barring just Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal, domestic flight services operated across most states.
The Centre has allowed limited passenger flights – about one-third of the summer schedule – to operate between metros and other destinations since Monday.
However, states are yet to agree on a uniform Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) for the arrival of passengers.
On the first day of resumption of domestic passenger flight services, the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) witnessed over 80 flight cancellations, when as per industry insiders, it was slated to handle 118 arrival and 125 departure flights on Monday.
Similarly, Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport handled only 24 arrivals and 23 departures but was scheduled to handle over 100 flights. The Maharashtra government on Sunday capped this to 25 each.
Airlines Awaiting Clarity on SOP from States
Low-cost airline GoAir is awaiting clarity on the readiness of the respective states and their airports with regard to acceptance of flights, or the conditions applicable to passengers entering the respective states.
"Without clarity on these conditions, GoAir does not wish to inconvenience its passengers by putting on sale flights immediately post 25 May, which they may book, that will not be permitted to operate to the respective states or may have conditions for arriving passengers of which they may be unaware," an official statement by the carrier said.
The carrier's official statement went further to state that it will open its site for bookings post-25 May up to 31 May as when and where appropriate once it receives clarity on the guidelines for the arrival of passengers.
"GoAir has already been on sale for its entire network of flights commencing 1 June and appreciates the initial customer response which has been very positive," the carrier added.
AirAsia, on the other hand, has resumed bookings for domestic flights to 21 destinations.