Coronavirus: All domestic flights suspended from March-25
NEW DELHI : In view of the coronavirus outbreak, the Indian government has decided to suspend all domestic air travel from Wednesday. However the restrictions shall not apply to cargo flights.
Airlines have to plan operations so as to land at their destination before 11.59 pm on Tuesday, the government said. Only cargo flights will be allowed. International flights had already been banned for a week and most of the country’s land borders have been sealed.
“Operations of domestic scheduled commercial airlines shall cease with effect from midnight on March 24. The restrictions shall not apply to cargo flights ,” News Agency ANI tweeted.
The government’s announcement came as the number of coronavirus cases rose to 415 on Monday. There have been even deaths. The operations at Terminal 3 of Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI), which handles all international flights, will remain suspended till March 29 as a precaution against the coronavirus pandemic.
Sharing this information, the Delhi Airport tweeted, “Passengers of the last international arriving flight have now exited the airport. Operations at T3 international arrivals will remain suspended till 0531 hours of March 29, 2020.”
“We take this opportunity to thank all our airport employees and doctors for their commitment. Passengers are requested to get in touch with the airline concerned for updated flight info on international departing flights. #Coronavirus,” the Delhi Airport said in another tweet.
Scientists and experts have warned of an explosion of COVID-19 cases in a country like India – the world’s second most populated – if drastic measures are not taken, including a lockdown and ban on public transport.
Yesterday, the centre had countered Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal when he said no flights would be allowed in or out of the capital. The DGCA had put out a clarification saying there would be no change in domestic flight operations.
This morning, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking him to stop flights to Bengal. In her letter, she said Bengal had stopped buses and trains but flights continued, which was against the quarantine protocol.19 states have gone on full lockdown, the health ministry said today.
Airlines across the world have been forced to cut down on their flights because of the coronavirus pandemic. A recent study by global aviation consultancy body CAPA said most airlines would face bankruptcy if the government does not intervene.
(With Agency Inputs ).