The rush outside Delhi airport on Monday morning. (Express photo/Tashi Tobgyal)

The Indian Express

Domestic flights resume today, over 80 cancellations at Delhi airport, 20 in Bengaluru

India domestic flights resume: By 10 am, several took to Twitter to accuse national carrier Air India of either cancelling without any prior notice or goofing up departure schedules.


India domestic flights resume: The resumption of domestic air travel after two months was not without hiccups as there were several flight cancellations and confusion over schedule at some airports.

Of the approximately 380 flights that were scheduled for today in the national capital, 82 (both departures and arrivals) were already cancelled by afternoon. And more than 20 flights were also called off in Bengaluru.

Even Odisha airport registered five cancellations. “Of the 10 flights scheduled to arrive here, five were cancelled due to problems at the departure points, while one flight from Delhi has already reached. Four more flights will land here on Monday,” airport director V V Rao told PTI.
A mother-daughter duo arrive at Mumbai airport on Monday morning. (Express photo/Nirmal Harindran)

Indigo flight 6E643 was the first aircraft of the day to take off from Delhi airport this morning, according to news agency PTI. Those who boarded the first flight included paramilitary personnel, army men, students and migrants who failed to book a ticket on special trains being run by the railways.

Several flyers took to social media to register their grievances against airlines, particularly Air India. Many accused the national carrier of either cancelling without any prior notice or goofing up departure schedules.

“We just came back from the airport. Our flight was not on the list. Despite that, Air India is showing our flight on time. Helpline numbers and live chat sessions our not available at the moment,” Ruchi Chatterjee posted on Twitter.

“My flight AI 515 from Hyderabad to Bengaluru got cancelled without prior notice, and in your website it still shows it’s on time,'” another passenger Mujeeb complained on the micro-blogging site.

Some claimed that the national carrier informed passengers of cancellations after they had reached the airport.

“Absolutely horrible from @airindiain. They told me the flight has been cancelled after I reached the airport saying that we can only notify two hours before the take off. How does this make sense when government is asking us to reach the airport two hours in advance?” Neelabh Pandey said.

Besides cancellations, there was confusion over quarantine procedures too.

In a message to the Karnataka DGP, Niveditha wrote: “I have a flight to Chennai via Bangalore. I received a message from IndiGo asking me to apply on Seva Sindhu. The portal asks for the Karnataka destination address. Can I just give the address of the airport since I just have a two-hour layover in Bangalore?”

Many even said they shelled out more to reach the airport as there were limited public transport options available.

While the government announced that flight operations at the Kolkata airport will resume on March 28 in view of the devastation caused by Cyclone Amphan last week, a passenger claimed that an Air India flight had departed from the city today.

Others, who were able to board the flight, expressed satisfaction at the thought of returning of home.

“I have to travel to Bulandshahr and was in Bangalore for the past two months. I could not make it back home as the lockdown was announced all of a sudden. I had been looking forward to this day for a long time since I haven’t met my wife in all this while. It is a good feeling to be able to go home finally,” Antriksh Singh said as he waited for his brother outside Terminal 3 of Delhi airport.

At least 11 states and the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir have mandated either institutional or home quarantine for arriving passengers.
The Centre has allowed the resumption of flights with one-third capacity. (Express photo/Nirmal Harindran)

Governments of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Kerala, Karnataka, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Meghalaya, Odisha and J&K have mandated either institutional or home quarantine for passengers flying to cities in their state. Some like Uttar Pradesh have also mandated registration of arriving passengers. However, Uttar Pradesh has different norms for passengers transiting through the state or those intending to make a short visit, as long as they can produce a proof of departure.

Airports key travel guidelines

The Airports Authority of India has issued standard operating procedures (SOPs) for airport operators for recommencement of domestic flight operations. Among the key guidelines include mandatory use of Aarogya Setu app for those above 14 years, sanitation of baggage by airport operators before entering the airport, restrictions on vehicles allowed to pickup and drop off passengers.

Here are the guidelines that airports need to follow