Even though no decision has been taken to extend the duration of the nationwide lockdown, national carrier Air India has announced that all ticket bookings will be closed from Friday onwards till April 30. This is applicable to all domestic and international flights. However, this decision will be reviewed after April 14, the last day of the nationwide lockdown. Currently, all domestic and international flight operations in India have been suspended till April 14. Earlier, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had revealed that no call had been taken yet on revoking the suspension of air travel after the lockdown period.
Bookings now closed till 30th April from today for all domestic and international routes. We are awaiting a decision post 14th April: Air India pic.twitter.com/Cpdp5QcJOx— ANI (@ANI) April 3, 2020
The current Lockdown on both domestic & international passenger flights is till April 15.— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) April 2, 2020
A decision to restart the flights after this period remains to be taken.
If required, we will have to assess the situation on a case by case basis.@MoCA_GoI @AAI_Official@MoHFW_INDIA
Addressing a press briefing on Thursday, Air India CMD Rajiv Bansal revealed that the national carrier had entered into a contract with 4 countries- Germany, Canada, France, and Ireland. According to this agreement, a total of 18 one-way flights will be operated on a commercial basis to these countries whereby foreign nationals can leave India. The flights will come back to the country with no passengers on board. This decision was taken after a few countries requested assistance in repatriating their citizens from India.
Additionally, Bansal stated that the national carrier will operate cargo flights from Delhi to Hong Kong and Shanghai on April 4 and 5. This will enable India to get medical supplies from China. While acknowledging that Air India faced regulatory hurdles from the Chinese side, Bansal mentioned that the approval was finally granted on Thursday. At the same time, he highlighted that the Hong Kong authorities granted permission much faster.