No restrictions to be lifted from domestic and international commercial passenger flights till coronavirus is not contained — confirms Aviation Ministry. By Tanvi Jain

 

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The Civil Aviation Ministry has recently confirmed that no restrictions will be lifted on commercial flights, both domestic as well as international, till the pandemic has not been properly contained. 

Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, confirmed the sameexpressing concern over the problems faced by people amid lockdown. “My heart goes out to people who are facing problems due to restrictions put in place on domestic & international flights, pursuant to the situation arising out of the timely announcement of a nationwide Lockdown. #IndiaFightsCOVID19,” he tweeted 

“These restrictions will be lifted once we are fully confident that the spread of the virus has been controlled & it poses no danger to fellow Indians. I thank everyone for their cooperation & help in these testing times. Together we shall overcome & emerge stronger,” the tweet further added. 

 

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The 21-day nationwide lockdown imposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 25, to curb the rising cases of coronavirus, resulted in suspension of all commercial passenger domestic and international flights. However, considering the severity of the situation, and urgent requirement of medical equipment, the DGCA has permitted cargo flights, offshore helicopter operations, medical evacuation flights and special flights.  

The aviation sector being one of the worst-hit due to lockdown has even resorted to pay-cuts, in order to cover up with the current losses it is facing due to lack of revenue. Airlines such as IndiGo, SpiceJet, GoAir have also reportedly said that they will be releasing partial salaries for last month. 

Moreover, CAPA — Centre for Aviation, has also reportedly warned that even after the restrictions are lifted, the nation will take at least a year to return to a normal operational fleet of 650 aircraft. 

 

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Puri had also recently shared UDAN’s initiative of supplying essential medical cargo to the country’s remote locations. “Under Lifeline UDAN, 218 flights have flown 2,05,709 kms to transport 377.50 Tons of essential medical cargo to remote parts of the country to support India’s war against COVID-19 since 26th March. Kudos to all officers & professionals. Your commitment is a source of strength,” he had tweeted. 

Related: Here’s How Airlines In India And International Are Stepping Up To Help During COVID-19