After two months of a nation-wide lock down caused by COVID-19, which saw the grounding of all domestic flights in India, from the 25th of May Indian carriers will once again take to the skies. However, Indian officials in various regions are still enforcing various degrees of lock down measures, and it has now become unclear exactly who can fly.
India’s Aviation Minister has announced flights will be gradually ramp up, so what can the Indian travelling public expect?
UV-Light Baggage Clean
Delhi International, India’s largest and busiest airport, will implement UV-Light baggage disinfection.
Social Distancing Measures Will be Strictly Enforced
Sources have reported that Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru airports will establish mandatory thermal screening checkpoints throughout terminals. Mumbai and Bengaluru airport authorities will install markings to ensure passengers stay a minimum of 1.5 meters from each other, according to the Economic Times. The markings will be seamlessly maintained throughout the airport terminal, starting at the kerbside drop-off points all the way to the air-bridge.
Expect to Eat on the Ground
According to sources, Indian airlines will collectively cease serving on-board meals. Delhi Airport will also install self-service food outlets, whilst all other airports nationwide will keep restaurants open.
On-board the aircraft, passengers will be required to wear face masks, which will be strictly policed. Passengers will also be encouraged to bring their own drinks to minimise interaction with airline cabin crew on-board.
How Expensive Will Flights be?
Currently prices are expected to be similar to those of pre-crisis prices. To encourage fair pricing, the Indian government will set a minimum and maximum airfare on all domestic routes.
For example on a Delhi to Mumbai flight, the minimum airfare price is 3500 Rupees ($46) and the maximum is 10,000 Rupees ($132).
Despite not being legally obligated to enforce social distancing on-board, airlines will only be allowed to operate flights at one-third capacity. This uniform rule will apply on inter-city routes with 100 or more flights per day. The only exception will be for flights between two non-metro cities; in which airlines can operate at any capacity they deem suitable, according to the Civil Aviation Ministry.
Who Can Actually Fly?
Airlines have started accepting bookings from the 1st of June onward, but will customers be able to fly?
India’s nationwide lock down is gradually easing, but the easing of restrictions is not guaranteed by the 1st of June. An announcement is expected on the 31st of May.
List of Airlines Resuming Operations
- Air India
- AirAsia India
- Alliance Air
- Most regional airlines
We hope this is yet another step in the right direction for an industry severely impacted by the global shutdown.
Another glimmer of hope, and evidence that light is indeed at the end of the tunnel.