Domestic passenger flight operations are expected to commence from Monday, May 25 in a calibrated manner, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri said in a tweet. To this extent, the Ministry of Civil Aviation will share standard operating procedures with all airports and airlines.
While the earlier indications were that flights may start between airports situated in green zone areas, airlines had raised the issue of viability for operating such flights. Even as most major centres such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, etc are still classified as red zone areas, a green light from certain state governments will ensure flights can be operated from these areas.
Some state governments including West Bengal had earlier expressed concern at resuming flight operations. In addition to this, certain state governments have been apprehensive of allowing people from locations highly impacted by Covid19 to enter their borders. In a tweet on Tuesday, Puri had said that it was not upto the Centre alone to decide on resuming domestic flights. “In the spirit of cooperative federalism, the government of states where these flights will take off and land should be ready to allow civil aviation operations,” he had said.
A detailed set of standard operating procedures is being worked on by the government in consultation with the aviation industry and going by the initial feedback, a number of new rules and regulations are expected to be put into place that will change the flying experience.
These new guidelines include mandatory social distancing at airports, revisions in the way security procedures are conducted to ensure minimal contact, use of face masks and personal protective equipment by passengers and employees, among others. A variety of new health checks may also be instituted that could result in longer queues at airports and increased wait times.