After announcing that domestic airline operations will resume from 25 May in a "calibrated" manner, Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said that the government is considering capping the prices of airline tickets, but "those will be comfortable".
"We are looking at some basic measures that could be taken relating to capping prices of airline tickets, but those will be comfortable," said Puri.
He also said that the domestic flights will resume from 25 May, 2020 and initially only "a small percentage of the total number of domestic flights will be operated."
"Depending on the experience we gain, we will increase the number of flights," he added.
Moreover, amid the fourth phase of the nationwide lockdown which was imposed on 25 March in order to combat the novel coroanvirus outbreak in the country, the aviation minister also clarified today that the airlines will start functioning without keeping the middle seat vacant as there are chances that social distancing may still not be followed.
"It's not viable to keep the middle seat vacant. Even if you keep middle seat vacant you'll still have a situation where prescribed distance for social distancing isn't followed. If you were to do it then you've to hike up airline ticket price by 33%," he said.
All airports and airlines have been informed to be ready to recommence operations, the minister said on twitter adding that standard operating procedures (SOPs) for passenger movement are being separately issued by the ministry of civil aviation.
However, Puri also said, "I think Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs) should not be made so onerous that they are difficult to be followed. We've now reached a happy balance and SOPs will be announced soon. Those will be the norms for some time."
Commercial flight operations in the country have been suspended since March 25 when the government first imposed a nationwide lockdown. Currently, the citizens are observing the fourth phase of the lockdown in which several relaxation in the movement and various other operations including availability of services have been allowed in almost all places barring the containment zones in the country.
The Airports Authority of India on Sunday had also issued for passengers once the flight services resume. The authority says that thatv passengers need to mandatorily download the Aarogya Setu app, do a web-check in and carry a print out of their boarding pass before heading to the airport to catch a flight. It also stated that air travellers must maintain a distance of four feet from co-passengers, wear a mask and other protective gear, wash or sanitise their hands frequently and carry a 350 ml bottle of sanitiser all the time.