Air India starts booking for domestic flights from May 25
National carrier Air India has opened bookings for domestic flights scheduled from May 25 onwards, when civil aviation operations are slated to resume partially. The development comes a day after the government released standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the resumption of domestic commercial passenger flights. Other airlines, such as IndiGo, Vistara, SpiceJet, and GoAir, have also started accepting bookings for domestic flights.
Earlier on Friday, Air India announced that it will open flight bookings from 12:30 pm. At 1:20 pm, the airline tweeted, "We have started bookings for domestic flights." Private fliers including IndiGo, SpiceJet, and Vistara have started accepting bookings for flights scheduled for journeys from May 25 onwards. GoAir, on the other hand, is only accepting bookings from June 1 onwards.
On Wednesday, Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri announced that domestic flights will resume in a calibrated manner from May 25. Only one-third of the pre-lockdown flight capacity will be made operational initially. According to the SOPs, released on Thursday, travelers will have to reach airports two hours in advance wearing masks and gloves. They will be thermal-screened at entry points.
Starting May 25, for three months, domestic airlines will operate a specified number of 8,428 flights each week. For the three-month period, the government has also capped the fares of flight tickets. Flights have been segregated into seven categories based on the duration of the flight. For journeys with durations of up to 40 minutes, the tickets will cost between Rs. 2,000 and 6,000.
Further, flights with a duration of 40-60 minutes will cost Rs. 2,500-7,500, followed by Rs. 3,000-9,000 for 60-90 minutes, Rs. 3,500-10,000 for 90-120 minutes, Rs. 4,500-13,000 for 120-150 minutes, Rs. 5,500-15,700 for 150-180 minutes, and Rs. 6,500-18,600 for 180-210 minutes. To view which flights fall under which slab, you can visit the website of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.
Commercial flight operations in India have been shut since March 25, when the nationwide lockdown came into effect. Since then, the lockdown has been extended thrice. Currently, India is in the fourth phase of the lockdown, which will last until May 31. During the lockdown, flight operations have been limited to cargo, medical evacuation, special flights, etc.