Domestic flight services resume at Tiruchi airport

IndiGo flight with 66 passengers from Bengaluru lands; airline cancels services on Chennai sector; passengers scanned on arrival


Domestic flight services resumed at the Tiruchi International Airport here after a gap of two months, with IndiGo airline operating its service on the Bengaluru-Tiruchi–Bengaluru sector on Monday night.

However, flight services on the Chennai-Tiruchi-Chennai sector were cancelled by the airline on Monday, much to the dismay of passengers who had booked their tickets in advance.

The airline said on Sunday that services on the Chennai-Tiruchi-Chennai sector — one in the morning and another in the night — would be operated, besides the Bengaluru-Tiruchi-Bengaluru service.

Airline sources here said the sudden cancellation of services in the Chennai-Tiruchi-Chennai sector was “due to COVID-19 travel restrictions” without elaborating further.

The airline operated an ATR flight in the Bengaluru-Tiruchi-Bengaluru sector as was the case during the pre-lockdown period. The aircraft from Bengaluru landed here at around 9.04 p.m. with 66 passengers on board. It later took off at 9.48 p.m. with 51 passengers who had come well in advance to the airport.

Airport sources said incoming and outgoing passengers were subjected to screening using thermal scanners at the airport as per protocol.

The luggage of all outgoing passengers was sanitised by Airports Authority of India authorities prior to allowing them inside the terminal building. Personal distancing was maintained outside the airport and inside the terminal. Passengers were advised to remain in home quarantine as per the standard protocol issued by the State government.

Airline sources said every Bengaluru-bound passenger was provided with mask, face shield and hand sanitiser prior to boarding the flight. The standard operating procedures laid down by the Ministry of Civil Aviation and by the State government were followed, said the sources.

Collector S. Sivarasu, accompanied by revenue officials, was present at the airport during the arrival of the first domestic flight here.

Tiruchi international airport has had more international flights as compared to domestic operations, which have been limited to Chennai and Bengaluru.

Although the airport saw resumption of domestic services following an announcement from the Ministry of Civil Aviation, the lockdown period was witness to a series of rescue flights that were operated by Air Asia and Malindo Air to take back stranded Malaysian nationals from here to Kuala Lumpur.