630 Flights Cancelled on 1st Day of Air Travel Resumption: Report

The day the Ministry of Civil Aviation has allowed flight operations to resume in the country, with airports across various states reopening after a two-month suspension due to the nationwide lockdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic, around 630 domestic flights were cancelled on the first day of resumption due to restrictions imposed by various states including Mumbai and Chennai, PTI reported.

Mumbai had decided to handle only 50 flights from Monday, Chennai 25 and Hyderabad 30, according to PTI.

On 22 May, bookings had opened for 1,100 domestic flights for Monday.

Union Minister for Civil Aviation Hardeep Puri in the evening of Monday tweeted saying, 532 flights carrying 39,231 passengers flew today.

"Action has returned to Indian skies,", he said in a tweet.

A lot of passengers across several airports have complained that their flights have been cancelled without prior notice, according to reports.

Some also took to Twitter to raise their concerns.

Meanwhile, various safety measures could be seen in place at the airports, with thermal scanning being carried out, terminal buildings being disinfected and sanitized, and crew members wearing protective suits.

Passengers being scanned at the Delhi airport.
Airport authorities are also making sure they santise the terminals regularly.

Yesterday, the aviation minister tweeted saying "had been a long day of hard negotiations with various states."

Many Left Stranded Amid Flight Cancellations

The Delhi airport saw at least 80 flights cancelled amid all the commotion while Bengaluru also saw 9 flights cancelled on Monday morning.

Some passengers at the Mumbai airport were also left stranded at the terminal as they complained that their flight had been cancelled and they did not receive any notification from the airline regarding the cancellation, reported NDTV.

Passengers of an Air India Bengaluru-Hyderabad flight also had their flight cancelled on Monday, apparently without any prior notice from the airline.

"“Only when our boarding passes were scanned at the airport entry we were told that boarding has been cancelled. We don’t know what to do now.”" - An Air India passenger to ANI

Limited Flights at Each Airport

Each airport is allowing only a specific number of passengers flights to arrive at the airport on a daily basis.

The Chennai International Airport has restricted its arrivals to 25 flights in a day while the Maharastra government is also allowing 25 landings and take-offs from the Chhatrapati Shivaji International airport per day.

The Delhi airport, on Monday, was scheduled to handle almost 380 flights as maximum traffic is expected at the national capital.

Also Read: Aviation Min Hints At Resuming International Flights Before August

Passengers & Crew Following Safety Protocols

Passengers with face masks were seen queuing up at various airports as many lined up outside the airport to catch early morning flights as operations resumed.

Thermal scanner have been installed at various airports to check body temperature readings of passengers.

The staff and passengers at the airports have been asked to follow social distancing and as an extra safety measure, automatic hand sanitizers and floor markers have also been placed at entry gates and check-in counters for departing passengers.

Automatic hand sanitiser dispensers have also been installed at entry gates.

Passengers onboard flights were seen with safety masks, gloves, and face shields on.

Earlier, there were plans to keep the middle seat vacant to ensure social distancing among passengers, however, the idea was dropped to cap the ticket prices.

Passengers seated on a Vistara flight.

The passengers have also been requested to download the Aarogya Setu app on their phone and reach the airport two hours prior to their scheduled departure.

Passengers have been asked to wear face shields and masks for their protection.

However, just to clarify, there has been no clear directive issued by the aviation ministry that you must have the Aarogya Setu app to be eligible to board a flight.

Various states had also insisted that a 14-day institutional quarantine be exercised for travellers.

As an extra precautionary measure, some states had insisted on a 14-day institutional quarantine for each passenger travelling.

Also Read: Domestic Air Travel SOPs: 1/3rd Flights to Operate, Cap on Fare

Flight attendants and staff have also been advised to follow safety protocols at the entry gates.

Air India cabin crew member being checked for temperature at the Delhi airport.

In order to ensure their safety and of the passengers, the airlines are providing the cabin crew with personal protection kits.

Indigo cabin crew arriving at the Delhi airport for an early morning flight.

“We’re strictly following government’s guidelines to ensure safety against COVID-19. Today has been a different experience as we’re not used to wearing protective gear over our uniforms,” a flight attendant on a Vistara Delhi-Bhubneshwar flight said. 

Cabin crew have been instructed to wear face masks and PPE for their safety.

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