New Delhi: Minister for Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri said that a total of 354 domestic flight departures, 288 arrivals and 47,917 air passengers were handled by airports on Wednesday until 5 pm. This is the third day since India resumed domestic flights on May 25 after a long suspension since March 25 when a nationwide lockdown was imposed to contain the spread of Coronavirus. On May 25, 428 flights were operated in India, whereas on May 26, a total of 445 domestic flights ferried passengers.
"People who were stranded in different parts of the country are now able to fly to be with their loved ones. Till 5pm on day 3 today, there have already been 354 departures & 288 arrivals with a total of 47,917 people at various airports. The numbers continue to grow," Puri said on Twitter on Wednesday evening.
Puri also said that the Phase 2 of Vande Bharat Mission, which is currently underway, is set to see nearly 58,750 Indians return home on 311 flights by June 17. "Phase-2 of the mission, currently underway, will bring back nearly 58,750 Indians on as many as 311 flights from Middle East, CIS, Europe, East Europe, SE Asia, South Asia, East Asia, Africa, & UK, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, US & Canada till 17th June 2020," Puri said on Twitter.
In Phase 1of Vande Bharat Mission, 13,750 people returned from 12 countries, including UK, US, Bangladesh, and countries in the Middle East and South East Asia on 64 flights. "Mission Vande Bharat has reached out to stranded & distressed Indians in different parts of the world & is facilitating their return," said Puri.
The government has so far refused to comment on how soon India will be able to resume civil aviation operations in a full-fledged manner. As of now, operations are being carried out at one-third of the normal capacity. At a press conference held before domestic flight operations were resumed, Puri had said, "I can't comment on how soon civil operation services will be resumed fully. I think, for now, we should let the process begin, and wait and watch how it goes and address the new issues that arise out of it. If we feel we have the comfort level, we will ramp it up by 10 percent, 15 percent, and so on." India has so far recorded 1,51,767 confirmed Coronavirus cases and 4,337 deaths so far. And the number has been rising. In view of the current situation, states like Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu that have only seen a rise in numbers have allowed resumption of civil aviation operations in a limited way.