After a gap of two months, India’s airlines will be airborne with over a thousand flights taking off on Monday with rigorous safeguards aimed at winning back the confidence of passengers.
As per the final schedule drawn up by the civil aviation authorities, there will be about 1095 departures on 25 May, said a government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Indigo flight 6E2625 from Bangalore to Delhi at 40 minutes past midnight will mark the commencement of domestic airline operations after the two-month gap. “The number of flights on first day may vary depending on airlines’ booking position," said the official.
Civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri had earlier in the day expressed confidence in the arrangements, saying that resumption of domestic operations is expected to go well as had the Vande Bharat mission. If domestic operations with stringent safeguards to check coronavirus infections go well as planned, it will give the authorities confidence to scale up operations.
Puri also assured in a ‘facebook live’ session that Indians who are ordinarily resident abroad but are stranded in India due to cancellation of international flights will soon be able to go back with the government considering arrangements for it.
The proposed facility for NRIs to return may be put in place as early as mid-June. Puri was responding to a question whether NRIs will be able to return by August or September. “Let us say, we must have a more ambitious goal. Why not start by mid-June or June end or July?," the minister said. He also assured that from 15 May, airports and the ancillary industry were ready.
The minister added that if the situation remains predictable, he was confident of starting a good part of international travel, if not all of it, much before August-September.