When Will Airlines Resume? Here’s What the Aviation Minister Announced
After Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared the extension of coronavirus lockdown till May 3, it was certain that the outbreak is here to stay. The PM also said that some relief might be offered in the lockdown on April 20.
One of the questions that were hovering everywhere was will the airlines resume? There were discussions going on that the airlines may open their bookings from May 4.
To mark an end for these speculations, the Union Minister for Civil Aviation, Hardeep Singh Puri took to twitter. He announced that no decision has been taken for opening any domestic or international operations.
Here is the tweet:
In his tweet, Hardeep Singh Puri clarified that no flights will resume until the government has made sure that COVID-19 is no longer a threat to the people. For this, a directive has also been sent to the airlines and they have been asked to restrain from ticket bookings as such.
He also slammed airlines like Air Asia, Vistara and Go Air since they opened the flight bookings irrespective of the fact that no such official communication was made for this from the Aviation Ministry.
Here is the series of tweets he posted:
On April 19, Directorate General of Civil Aviation also released directive to all the airlines to stop flight bookings till the time the government announces.
“All airlines are hereby directed to refrain from booking tickets… Further, the airlines may note that they shall be given sufficient notice and time for restarting operations,” the circular stated.
No Bookings After the Government Intervenes
As per a report, some airlines had ignored the government’s advisory and opened bookings after May 3.
Air India, for instance, had announced that it will start its domestic flights on select routes from May 3 and international bookings from June 1. On its website, the private carrier announced: “Bookings for select domestic flights for travel from May 4, 2020, and international flights for travel from June 1, 2020 onwards are open,”
However, after the government’s notification, they have stopped the operations. The Air India officials announced, “We have stopped all forward bookings now. Any passenger who has booked tickets on a flight, which has been cancelled, would be getting a credit voucher for future travel.”
Go Air and SpiceJet may now open their booking from May 16 while Indigo and Vistara have opened online counters for travel from June 1.
Owing to the demand and COVID-19, there are chances that the fares may go up causing a great discern among the passengers. The customers are already complaining about their cancelled flights due to coronavirus outbreak. Many have complained about airlines declining the refund for cancelled tickets and instead, offering credit shells.
Not just this, even if the bookings open, questions about social distancing hang since to maintain distance, the airlines would have to leave the middle seats empty. This may take a toll on the revenue and push up fares exponentially.
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