Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri has confirmed that domestic flights are set to resume in India from May 25 in a calibrated manner.

“Domestic civil aviation operations will recommence in a calibrated manner from Monday 25th May 2020. All airports & air carriers are being informed to be ready for operations from 25th May. SOPs for passenger movement is also being separately issued by @adminMoCA_Gol,” Hardeep Singh wrote on his official Twitter account.

According to News 18, here are the expected SOPs for passenger movements issued by the govt:

  • No catering in flights with travel duration less than two hours
  • Some snacks type item will be served
  • Only healthy people will be allowed to travel
  • No cabin baggage is allowed
  • Only web-check in is allowed
  • No use of common areas like smoking and prayer rooms
  • Compulsory to have Aarogya Setu App on phone
  • Compulsory to wear protective gear like mask and hand gloves
  • Passengers will fill a form declaring their COVID-19 history if they were quarantined
  • Separate seats at the back for suspected persons

Even the government had been in talks with the airlines in regard to the resumption of the flights, the delay reportedly happened due to the differences with the various state governments.

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“It is not up to the Ministry of Civil Aviation or centre alone to decide on resuming domestic flights. In the spirit of cooperative federalism, the govt of states where these flights will take off & land should be ready to allow civil aviation operations,” the aviation minister had earlier tweeted.

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Previously it was also disclosed that a few airlines had already begun to take passenger bookings. While there were no official statements from any of the parties, PTI had reported that the likes of IndiGo and Vistara have been taking bookings for domestic travel, while SpiceJet has made it clear that their international bookings are closed until June 15.

The flights have been suspended since late-March when the whole nation went into a complete lockdown to curb further spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier, India PM Narendra Modi had announced lockdown 4.0 that would see the flights to remain suspended till May 31.

However, it will be interesting to see if the flights take off before that, but the announcement from the aviation minister is certainly encouraging signs for the airline industries, who have had to face huge losses and major downsizing over the last couple of months.