Lockdown 4.0: Limited flight operations amid confusion and chaos

Updated: May 26, 2020, 09:56 | Sunny Rodricks
  • Flight Operations, Domestic fight services, COVID-19 in India

    Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Monday that 532 flights were operational on the first day of resumption of domestic flights in India after the suspension was lifted in the wake of lockdown. He further said that 39,231 passengers travelled on Day one and the numbers would increase further with the resumption of operations in Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal.

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  • Flight Operations, Domestic fight services, COVID-19 in India

    The domestic flights operations were suspended nearly two months ago in March due to the nationwide lockdown imposed to contain the spread of coronavirus. After the domestic flight operations resumed on Monday, long queues were seen at some airports while a handful of passengers were seen in a few other airports.

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  • Flight Operations, Domestic fight services, COVID-19 in India

    In photo: The picture tweeted by Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri with the caption, "Indians soar in the skies again!" Pic/Twitter/ Hardeep Singh Puri

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  • Flight Operations, Domestic fight services, COVID-19 in India

    As soon as the domestic flight operations started in India, Vistara Airlines started its operation with the first flight to Bhubaneswar from the national capital. While passengers in the aircraft were seen donning face shield and masks, the cabin crew was spotted wearing PPE kits as per the guidelines laid down by the Civil Aviation Ministry.

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  • Flight Operations, Domestic fight services, COVID-19 in India

    Barring Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal, domestic flight services resumed across most states in the country with limited operations. In order to mark the occasion, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri shared a live image of India's airspace with flight movements on Twitter. "A beautiful live capture from #flightradar24 shows how our skies look busy again as domestic civil aviation recommences in India from today," Hardeep Tweeted.

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    In photo: Malaysian residents who were stranded in India leave for their hometown from Mumbai International Airport amid lockdown in the city.

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    After speaking to Centre, the Maharashtra government allowed 50 flights to operate daily. The state government had requested the Centre to keep the air services at a minimum possible level. The resumption of domestic flights comes at a time when new coronavirus cases in the country crossed 6,000 mark daily for the third consecutive day on Sunday.

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    In Mumbai, the officials at the Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport were seen prepping up for the resumption of flight services since the wee hours of Sunday. From marking social distancing spots to making alternate seating arrangements, the Mumbai Airport was geared up to operate flight resumption. 

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  • Flight Operations, Domestic fight services, COVID-19 in India

    According to Industry insiders, majority of the bookings were for flights between metro cities. Although 532 flights were operated on the first day, the resumption did face some initial hiccups as passengers were seen harried across airports. At Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) almost 80 flights were cancelled due to the limit on arrivals and departures by state governments.

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    Passengers who travelled from Bengaluru to Mumbai expressed satisfaction on the services extended by the airport and the airline amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Anamika Iyengar, who travelled from Bengaluru to Mumbai said that at every stage of the check-in and details submission was contactless and easy to understand. She also said that the airline only allowed water and used a screen like gadget to check the fliers before boarding the flight.

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    In photo: Passengers at Mumbai Airport were seen donning face mask while others were seen travelling with PPE kits amid lockdown in the city.

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  • Flight Operations, Domestic fight services, COVID-19 in India

    After domestic flights resumed operations, Maharashtra's State Disaster Management Department issued a Standard Operating Procedures for passengers of domestic flights. According to the guidelines, all passengers will be stamped and will have to go to 14-day home isolation while passengers coming for short duration will be exempted if they submit return travel details.

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  • Flight Operations, Domestic fight services, COVID-19 in India

    While laying guidelines for the operation of domestic flights, the Uttar Pradesh Home Department said that passengers who come from foreign countries will need to give a letter of consent to the effect that they will stay for 7 days at paid quarantine facilities and 7 days in home isolation. In some exceptional situations, passengers will be allowed for home quarantine, the UP Home Department said.

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  • Flight Operations, Domestic fight services, COVID-19 in India

    A flight attendant who was part of Vistara's Delhi-Bhubaneswar flight said that the airline followed all the guidelines laid down by the Centre to ensure safety against COVID-19. Talking about PPE kits, the flight attendant said that it was a different experience as they were not used to wearing protective gear over our uniforms.

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  • Flight Operations, Domestic fight services, COVID-19 in India

    From thermal screening to luggage of the passengers being disinfected, airports across the country adhered to the domestic flight services guidelines that were issues by the Civil Aviation Ministry. While airport officials donned face mask and PPE kits, passengers at various airports were given a packet containing hand sanitiser and head cover to protect themselves from the deadly virus.

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    In photo: Sports marked at Mumbai International Airport to observe social distancing as domestic flights resumed services across states.

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    While some passengers got lucky and were able to go home in flights on Monday, there were many plagued by last-minute cancellations as confusion reigned at the airport. The experience was especially harrowing because travellers had to arrange for cabs and e-passes to reach the airport itself.

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    Among the various carriers, Air India, Indigo, SpiceJet, Vistara and Air Asia were among the airlines, who were allowed to operate one-third of their services under the new guidelines laid down by the Civil Aviation Ministry. The carriers were allowed to resume service by following all protocols including social distancing, wearing of masks and washing hands with sanitisers.

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  • Flight Operations, Domestic fight services, COVID-19 in India

    After flight services resumed across the country, an Air India spokesperson said that their experience of operating numerous evacuation flights since January 31 along with repatriation services for foreigners gave them a unique experience in operating domestic flight services during the new normal of COVID-19 amid total lockdown.

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  • Flight Operations, Domestic fight services, COVID-19 in India

    Among the thousands of passengers who travelled on Monday, a 5-year-old boy, who was stuck in Delhi since the nationwide lockdown began flew back home to an emotional reunion with his mother when he landed at Bengaluru airport. Holding a placard that read 'special category', the boy travelled alone from Delhi and was warmly received by his mother at Kempegowda International Airport.

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  • Flight Operations, Domestic fight services, COVID-19 in India

    In photo: A woman passenger donning face mask snapped at Mumbai International Airport as domestic flight services resumed operation after two months.

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About The Gallery

On day one of flight resumption, social distancing norms and guidelines were followed as flight attendants donning PPE kits and passengers donning masks, gloves and face shields gave a glimpse of the future of flying post COVID-19.

(All photos/mid-day photographers)