On Saturday, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation extended the suspension of domestic and international flight operations until 11.59 pm on May 17. This comes a day after the Centre announced that the lockdown would be extended till May 17 in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. However, this restriction will not apply to international cargo flights and flights specifically approved by the DGCA. Under the new lockdown guidelines, all domestic and international air travel of passengers barring for medical, security and other purposes permitted by the Ministry of Home Affairs has been prohibited in the Red zones, Orange zones, and Green zones. Meanwhile, the DGCA reiterated that all airlines shall be informed about the opening of operations in due course of time.
Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) issues circular to extend the prohibition of domestic & international commercial flight operations till May 17. pic.twitter.com/HzoYpU2kY7— ANI (@ANI) May 2, 2020
Domestic and international flight operations have been tremendously impacted since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus crisis. Initially, a week-long ban was imposed on international flights from March 22. Thereafter, it was declared that there would be no domestic operations from the midnight of March 24. These orders were superseded by the 21-day nationwide lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
As a consequence, the DGCA has extended the suspension of domestic and international flight operations till April 14, 2020. When the lockdown was extended till May 3, the DGCA followed suit and air travel remained prohibited. However, operations of flights for cargo transport and evacuation of foreign nationals stranded in India was allowed.
Currently, there are 37,336 confirmed novel coronavirus cases in India out of which 9,951 persons have recovered while 1,218 casualties have been reported. On Friday, the MHA released guidelines for the post-May 3 lockdown period, granting more relaxations for all the three zones. It also permitted the operation of special trains for the inter-state transport of stranded migrants, students, tourists, pilgrims and others.