As states continue to ease restrictions on domestic travel, flights to Kolkata airport from Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Pune and Nagpur have been permitted to operate from September 1, although in a limited manner.
Why were the flights to Kolkata from these six cities banned?
Responding to the West Bengal government’s request to curtail flights to the state, the Ministry of Civil Aviation had asked airlines to suspend flights to Kolkata from Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Chennai and Ahmedabad — all cities with high Covid-19 caseload — with effect from July 6.
The flights have remained suspended since then. This was the first time since the resumption of domestic flights on May 25 that a state decided to completely curtail incoming flight movements to manage the spread of Covid-19. Initially, the flights were suspended for two weeks but the ban was later extended.
When will the flights resume?
Even as airlines are yet to announce their schedules from these six cities to Kolkata, the government has permitted airlines to operate flights on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays for the first two weeks of September. For the third and fourth week of the month, flights will be operated on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Almost all major airlines, including IndiGo, SpiceJet, Vistara, Air India and GoAir, connected Kolkata to these six airports prior to the ban.
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Are other states relaxing travel restrictions too?
Earlier this week, Karnataka announced fresh guidelines for inter-state travel according to which people travelling from other states to Karnataka shall neither have to undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine or register themselves on the Seva Sindhu portal.
The relaxations were announced after the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) wrote to states last week that there cannot be “restriction on inter-State and intra-State movement”, as stipulated in the July 29 guidelines for Unlock-3. Further, Goa also revoked the requirement for travellers to get a travel permit prior to entering the state. However, other requirements such as quarantine and getting a Covid-19 test certificate still remain in place.
Himachal Pradesh also relaxed the norms for tourists, compelling them to stay in the state for a minimum of two days, compared with a mandatory minimum stay of five days earlier.
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