Union Minister for Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri Thursday said only one-third of flights would be operated under strict norms when domestic flight services restart on Monday while fixing an upper and lower limit for fares. Addressing a press conference after meeting all stakeholders, Puri confirmed that there will be “no 14-day quarantine for fliers” after reaching destination.
Puri added that the routes have been divided into seven sections based on duration of flights ranging from 40 minutes to 210 minutes. “The passengers are expected to certify the status of their health through the Aarogya Setu app or a self-declaration form,” the Union Minister said. Pointing out that social distancing requirements would not be met even if middle seats in flights were kept vacant, Puri said those seats would be filled up too.
Operations will start on 1/3 of the approved Summer schedule for domestic routes in a calibrated manner from 25 May 2020 & will be scaled up gradually.
After domestic travel has been eased, we will address the issue of international travel depending on the evolving situation.
— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) May 21, 2020
Earlier today, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) issued standard operating procedures (SOPs) for airport operators for recommencement of domestic flight operations. Among the key guidelines include mandatory use of Aarogya Setu app for those above 14 years, sanitation of baggage by airport operators before entering the airport, restrictions on vehicles allowed to pickup and drop off passengers.
Here are the key points from Hardeep Singh Puri’s presser:
👉 All the air travel routes have been divided into seven sections based on duration of flights ranging from 40 minutes to 210 minutes. “The first band, which would have its specific lower and upper limits of air fare, will consist of flights that are of less than 40 minutes duration. Second, third, fourth and fifth bands of upper limit would be of flights with duration of 40-60 minutes, 60-90 minutes, 90-120 minutes and 120-150 minutes,” Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said.
👉 Social distancing requirement not met even if middle seats in flights are kept vacant, so we will fill up middle seats, Puri said.
👉 Only one-third flights will be permitted to operate from metro to non-metro cities where weekly departures are more than 100.
👉 For all other cities, airlines are free to use 1/3rd capacity of approved summer schedule 2020.
👉 40 per cent of the seats in any flight will have to be sold at the mid-point of the lower and upper air fare limits prescribed for any route by the authorities.
👉 Fares will be regulated and will be in a fixed range with a minimum and a maximum fare already set for the route.
👉 In the case of Delhi, Mumbai the minimum fare would be Rs 3,500 for a journey between 90-120 minutes, maximum fare would be Rs 10,000. This is operative for 3 months – till one minute to midnight on 24th August.
👉 If a passenger does not have the Aarogya Setu app on her or his phone for some reason, she or he can give a self-declaration form. Such a passenger will not be stopped from boarding the flight.