Hours after Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri claimed that 832 domestic passenger flights operated on Monday May 25, the ministry issued a clarification stating that only 428 domestic flights plied on the day.
This is the third time the ministry has revised the figures for flights that operated on Monday, which was the first day of domestic passenger flights resumption in India. On Monday evening, Puri had said that total 532 flights carrying 39,231 passengers had operated during the day. On Tuesday morning, he revised the figure to 832 flights which carried 58,318 passengers.
The ministry issued an excel sheet on Tuesday evening stating that 428 domestic flights carrying 30,550 passengers departed for their destinations on Monday. It also showed 404 of the 428 flights arrived at their destinations on Monday itself. The remaining 28 flights reached their destinations on Tuesday (after midnight) after departing from their origin city on Monday (just before midnight).
The ministry clarified that since a departure is considered as one “flight”, Puri had quoted the 832 “flight movements” – which is a sum of departures (428 in this case) and arrivals (404 in this case) – of Monday as “flights”.
In a tweet, Puri had said, “Airports are abuzz and passengers are back in the air. 58,318 passengers flew to their destinations on 832 flights on the first day, 25th May till midnight.”
A day earlier, he had said that from no domestic passenger flights on Sunday to 532 flights and 39,231 passengers Monday, “action has returned to Indian skies”.
On the flight movement on Tuesday, the aviation minister said the airports have handled 325 departures and 283 arrivals with 41,673 passengers till 5 pm.
Low cost carrier IndiGo said on Monday it is operating just above 200 flights per day till May-end. Vistara said on Tuesday it operated 20 flights on Monday. Air India officials said they operated approximately 60 flights on Monday. All carriers except GoAir operated their flights on Monday and Tuesday.
Demand for non-metro routes is significantly higher than metro routes, with the Delhi-Patna route witnessing the highest number of bookings for the travel period between May 25 and May 31, according to information sourced from online travel agencies. The booking pattern is reflective of a trend which suggests bulk of the demand comprises those going to visit their homes or travelling for health-related procedures.
Prior to the grounding of flights announced by the government with effect from March 25, around 2,700 domestic flights operated in the country on a normal day. According to the standard operating procedures issued by the Ministry of Civil Aviation, only a third of those flights can operate now.
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