Under strict rules, India resumes domestic flights after two months
West Bengal urged government to postpone resumption of passenger flights to Kolkata as it focuses on rescue work of Cyclone Amphan
New Delhi: Domestic passenger flights resumed in India after a gap of two months and the country will see around 600 services on Monday, officials said.
The Delhi airport saw its first departure at 4.45 am to Pune while Mumbai airport's first departure was at 6.45 am to Patna, the officials said.
Scheduled commercial passenger flights were suspended on March 25, when the Centre imposed a nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
It was announced last Thursday that one-third of pre-lockdown domestic flights will operate from Monday. International scheduled commercial passenger flights remain suspended.
The first passenger flight from Delhi airport IndiGo 6E643 departed for Pune, while the first domestic passenger flight to arrive at Delhi on Monday was from Ahmedabad and it was of SpiceJet, the officials said.
The Mumbai airport's operator MIAL said in a statement: "The first flight departing out of CSMIA (Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport ) will be to Patna at 6:45hrs and flight arriving from Lucknow will be the first arrival flight at 8:20hrs both operated by IndiGo."
Airlines to resume about a third of their domestic flight operations from Monday, even without clarity over what quarantine rules may apply to passengers.
The western state of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu in the south and West Bengal in the east business hubs and home to India's busiest airports had said they were not prepared to open for flights as coronavirus cases rose, state government officials said.
Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu agreed to operate limited flights from Monday, while southern state of Andhra Pradesh would allow flights from Tuesday, India's civil aviation minister, Hardeep Singh Puri, said on Twitter late on Sunday.
"It has been a long day of hard negotiations with various state government to recommence civil aviation operations in the country. Domestic flights will recommence across the country from tomorrow," he said on sunday.
West Bengal urged the central government to postpone the resumption of passenger flights to Kolkata as it focuses on rescue work after Cyclone Amphan hit the city.
Limited aviation operations in West Bengal will commence from Thursday, Puri said.
India's federal structure gives its 28 states flexibility to set their own rules, complicating government efforts to kickstart the economy.
The health ministry on Sunday asked states to design quarantine plans based on symptoms of passengers where those with moderate or severe symptoms would be taken to dedicated facilities. Those with mild symptoms must stay at home.