Hours after Air India said it has opened bookings on select domestic flights from May 4 and on select international flights from June 1, Minister of Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri stated that no decision had been taken regarding the opening of domestic or international flight routes. He also said that airlines are advised to open bookings only after the government takes a decision in this regard.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation clarifies that so far no decision has been taken to open domestic or international operations.— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) April 18, 2020
Airlines are advised to open their bookings only after a decision in this regard has been taken by the Government.@MoCA_GoI @DGCAIndia @AAI_Official
In a tweet late on Saturday evening, Puri stated that no decision had been taken regarding the flight operations and requested airlines to open booking only after a decision had been taken by the government.
Earlier in the day, the government carrier Air India announced it has opened bookings on select domestic and international routes from May 4 and June 1, respectively. It had stopped accepting bookings on all domestic flights for travel till May 3, 2020, and on all international flights for travel till May 31, 2020 till now. On April 3, Air India had said it has stopped bookings, both domestic and international, till the end of the month.
"Bookings for select domestic flights for travel from May 4, 2020, and for international flights for travel from June 1, 2020, onwards are open," a notification on Air India's website said.
According to the latest update from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the number of total Coronavirus cases in the country has climbed to 15,707, while the death toll stands at 507.
India has suspended all visas and barred travel from Afghanistan, Philippines, EU, UK, China, Malaysia and mandatory 14-day quarantine from several other countries. PM Modi has extended the lockdown till May 3, with a relaxation possibility in non-COVID hotspots after April 20.
The country is currently in the second phase of the nationwide lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 14 and will go on till May 3. All transport services have been stopped, including Indian railways' passenger service goods trains are operational to ensure a steady supply of goods and services across the country.