Domestic, intl flights suspended till May 3 as Covid-19 lockdown continues

Topics Coronavirus | DGCA | Lockdown

This is the first time India has effected a total shutdown of air transport.
India will keep domestic and international flights suspended till May 3 in alignment with a national lockdown being extended, said the country's aviation ministy on Tuesday.  

Domestic and international commercial passenger flights were earlier suspended from March 25 to April 14. "All domestic and international scheduled airline operations shall remain suspended till 11.59 pm of 3rd May 2020," the ministry tweeted.

Indian aviation had a negative growth of 3-5 per cent in the last fiscal—hurting before the coronavirus pandemic and now hurting because of the disease, said rating agency Icra on Thursday. The Icra report pointed that traffic slowed even before the coronavirus outbreak due to multiple reasons, including closure of debt laden Jet Airways.

The agency, on Thursday said the de-growth was largely driven by higher airfares in the wake of large scale flight cancellations following shutting down of Jet Airways and overall sluggishness in demand. "Overall, except for the closure of airport operations, excluding cargo, the passenger traffic witnessed the de-growth in the range of 3-5 per cent for FY2020," Icra said during a media webinar.

A worker sprays disinfectant inside the cabin of a Lion Air passenger jet as a precaution against the new coronavirus, at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Indonesia

There were speculations over the opening of flights to limited countries based on situation assessment, however, the decision confirms that the government is not taking any risk going forward. Resumption of international flights will be considered on a case-by-case basis after India's lockdown ends and will depend on which countries they are coming from, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had said last week. 

 

All domestic and international scheduled airlines operations shall remain suspended till11:59pm of 03 May 2020.

DGCA (@DGCAIndia) April 14, 2020
"Any incoming flights to bring Indians back home will have to await the lifting of the lockdown," he told reporters at a press conference.

This is the first time India has effected a total shutdown of air transport. A similar action was taken by the US after the terror attack on the World Trade Centre on September 11, 2001. The Covid-19 pandemic sent global air passenger demand plunging 14 per cent in February, marking the steepest decline in traffic since the 9/11 attacks in 2001, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said.


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