Responding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pitch for a Janata curfew on Sunday, airlines have curtailed the number of flights they will operate on March 22. While IndiGo, SpiceJet and Vistara will be operating a reduced schedule, budget airline GoAir has suspended all of its flights for Sunday.
India’s largest airline IndiGo will be operating only 60 per cent of its flights on Sunday, while SpiceJet will be operating a limited number of flights depending on load factors for those flights.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday addressed the nation and called for a Janata Curfew on Sunday, March 22. He said this curfew will be “for the people and by the people of India” and will be from 7 am to 9 pm on Sunday. PM Modi said it will apply to everyone and urged all citizens to stay inside their homes. He said those in emergency and essential services should do their regular duties.
While Sunday will witness near empty domestic skies, airlines are also reducing capacities to be in line with the plummeted demand caused by the Covid-19 outbreak.
“Going forward, responding to the various travel restrictions imposed worldwide, most of our international flights are suspended and additionally, given the reduction in domestic demand, we are trimming our domestic India operations by approximately 25 per cent for now,” IndiGo said in a statement.
National carrier Air India has also decided that in view of reduction in passenger load and to optimise available resources and contain costs, the airline will review the flight schedule by clubbing or curtailing its flights.
According to civil aviation rules, airlines, when cancelling flights must refund their passengers in full or accommodate them on different flights. However, in case of force majeure situations, where such massive scale of refunds could place an airline under severe stress, the carriers tend to offer alternate mechanism such as a credit shell for a fixed time period.
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