Chhatrapati Chivaji International Airport, Mumbai, is getting ready for take-off. (Photo courtesy Vivek Doshi)
India will resume domestic air travel from May 25, two months after the government imposed a countrywide lockdown.
Hardeep Puri, India’s civil aviation minister, announced via social media that domestic civil aviation operations will recommence in “a calibrated manner” from Monday May 25. He said that all airports and carriers were being informed to be ready for operations from that day.
India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation has issued detailed guidelines for passengers, from pre-departure and check-in to inflight and disembarkation.
All passengers must check-in online and arrive at the airport at least two hours before departure. They will also be required to sign up for the government tracing app, Aarogya Setu, and make a self-declaration certifying their health. This will be checked by airport staff. All travel to the airport must be made using authorized taxis or personal vehicles.
Only one check-in bag and one cabin back will be allowed per person and passengers will be expected to download, print and fix their own baggage tags before arriving at the airport. There will be no physical check-in available at counters. Check-in and baggage drop must be completed at least 60-minutes before departure.
Masks must be worn throughout the airport and passengers are advised to avoid using baggage trolleys if possible. Safety kits, including a mask and sanitizer, will be handed out during the boarding process and water bottles will be made available on the plane.
During the flight, there will be no meal service, newspapers or magazines. Passengers are being asked to keep cabin movements to a minimum and there will be no queuing for the toilet.
On arrival, passengers will be subject to the health protocols of the destination, which may include a mandatory quarantine period.
Air India has now opened bookings for domestic flights.
The Indian government introduced a strict countrywide lockdown in March and also banned all international flights. There has been no indication at this point that this suspension will be lifted. India has so far recorded 124,794 coronavirus cases and 3,726 deaths.