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Cancelled flights, miffed passengers galore on reopening domestic flight services

Several flights still ended up getting cancelled, much to the hassle of the customers.


As domestic flight services resumed in India on Monday, the arrival and departure of as many as 82 aircraft were, however, cancelled at the IndiraGandhi International Airport in New Delhi today. Similar scenes unfolded at other major airports of the country as well, including those at Mumbai, Chennai and Bengaluru, although flight schedules had already been prepared beforehand.

Long queues comprising of several passengers were seen outside most major airports in India today, including the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai, where visuals showed disappointed passengers sitting outside the airport after their flights were cancelled. Passengers also reportedly complained about the airlines not informing them of their cancelled flights until the last minute and even after that, no proper confirmation regarding potential rescheduling of the flights have been provided.

Reports have quoted airport officials as saying that the flights were cancelled because of several states telling the central government that they will not be able to operate the flights that had been agreed upon earlier.

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According to news agency ANI, earlier, the flight schedule was made for all airports including West Bengal (flight operations from May 28), Maharashtra (25 takeoffs and 25 landings every day) and Chennai (incoming passenger flights restricted to 25 daily).

However, several flights still ended up getting cancelled, much to the hassle of the customers.

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Some of the cancelled flights are as follows:

Domestic flight services have resumed in India on Monday, after about two months of suspension due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-necessitated nationwide lockdown. According to sources, the very first of these flights took off from Terminal 3 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi today at 5 AM and landed in Pune at 6:42 AM.

As other flights follow suit throughout the day, passengers are being screened using a thermometer gun before boarding the aircraft, while visuals showed Food & Beverage (F&B) and retail outlets opening at the IGI Airport as well.

Earlier, the central government had informed that domestic flight services will resume in India from May 25, while international flights are to start soon as well, as part of its gradual reboot of air travel services in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.

Confirming the development, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had said, ''There's no contradiction between domestic flights beginning from May 25 and lockdown in India being imposed till May 31.''

Passengers have been advised to bring their boarding passes along with them. It has also been made mandatory for the air travellers to download the Aarogya Setu mobile app in their cellphones, which will help authorities determine if the concerned passengers are coming from a COVID-19 hotspot or not. If they do not have the app on their phones, passengers will have to sign an undertaking declaring that they are free from COVID-19 infection. Air travel staff will also assist passengers in downloading the app on the spot if it's not present on their phones.

A thermal gun will also be used to screen the passengers before entry into the flight.

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, on part of the central government, has issued guidelines for travelling in domestic flights across airports in the country.

The central government is also aiming to restart international flights by mid-June or July, Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Saturday.

Speaking to reporters, Puri asserted that the government will try to start a good percentage of international flights before August, if not the entire civil aviation.