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Air India to start Railways-like special domestic flight services from May 19: Sources

While resumption of domestic flight services in India is definitely on the cards, initially only Air India will be allowed to operate these flights, sources have said

  • Air India is likely to operate special flights, on the lines of the 15 special trains started by the Railways, said sources

  • Two other sources aware of the matter said that these special domestic flight services are likely to start from May 19

New Delhi: In the fourth phase of the COVID-19 lockdown, while the resumption of domestic flight services in India is definitely on the cards, initially only state-run Air India will be allowed to operate these flights, multiple sources aware of the matter told PSU Watch on Wednesday. While asserting that a full-fledged resumption of domestic flight services in India is not on the table as of now, a source at AAI (Airports Authority of India) said that Air India is likely to operate special flights, on the lines of the 15 special trains started by the Railways, and then scale it up gradually.

“As of now, we have only received schedules for Air India flights which are likely to operate in the same way as the 15 special trains started by the Railways. For now, no other airline is going to operate flight services,” the source said.

Resumption of special flights from May 19, bookings likely to start 6 hrs before flight: Sources

Two other sources aware of the matter said that these special domestic flight services are likely to start from May 19 and go on till June 1. “Like special trains, these flights will be meant for people who are stranded and have not been able to travel because of the lockdown. The bookings will also be curtailed. They are likely to open 6 hours before the flight,” said one of the two sources.

Aarogya Setu to be mandatory for all passengers

Sources have also said that it may be mandatory for all passengers to check their health status on Aarogya Setu before embarking on the journey. “There will also be a comprehensive screening procedure, like thermal scanning, UV tunnels for disinfection of luggage, etc. And only asymptomatic people will be allowed to travel,” they added.

“The learning and the confidence garnered from Vande Bharat Mission has prompted the government to look at a gradual resumption of domestic flight services in India. Social distancing and face covers and all the protocol followed during the exercise will be replicated at the domestic level too,” said sources.