oppn parties Flights To Resume From Tomorrow But Some States Object

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  • ISC chemistry paper postponed to March 21 just hours before start of exam due to "unforeseen circumstances"
  • Ghajal legend Pankaj Udhas passes away. he was 72
  • Calcutta HC says that there is no stay on arresting TMC leader Shahjahan and he should be arrested immediately
  • With latest data showing big fall in consumption of food and cereal, the government might rejig retail inflation data
  • Stock markets go down on Monday: Sensex loses 352 points to 72790 and Nifty 90 points to 22122
  • Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma steps down as chairman of Paytm Payments Bank
  • Rohit Sharma says only players with hunger to perform in Tests will be given chances, issuing a stern warning for those who play truant
  • Fourth Test: Shubman Gill (52 no) and Dhruv Jurel (39no) take India home after they slumped to 120/5
  • Fourth Test: India win by 5 wickets to claim series 3-1 with one Test remaining
  • UK writer Prof Nitasha Kaul, who was invited by the Congress government in Karnataka for the international conferecne on the Constitution, was detained and deported upon her arrival at Bengaluru airport
  • Haryana INLD chief Nafe Singh Rathee was shot dead in Bahadurgarh in the state after his car was ambushed and sprayed with bullets by suspected gangsters
  • After the Congress left late Ahmad Patel's fief Bharuch in Gujarat for the AAP, his son Faisal Patel has revolted and said that he will contest from the seat
  • BSP implodes as MP Ritesh Pandey joins BJP with 3 more MPS eyeing a switch to the BJP, 2 looking to join the Congress and 1 RLD
  • PM Modi inaugurates Sudarshan Setu, a 2.3km long cable-strayed bridge that connects Okha on the mainland to Beyt Dwarka island in the Arabian Sea off Gujarat coast
India win the Ranchi Test by 5 wickets, take an unbeatable 3-1 lead in the five-match series
oppn parties
Flights To Resume From Tomorrow But Some States Object

By A Special Correspondent
First publised on 2020-05-24 18:30:46

While the Centre has taken the welcome decision of opening up the aviation sector in a calibrated manner from Monday, May 25, some states, Maharashtra in particular, have expressed their inability to allow the resumption of flights to and from airports in their states citing the rising number of Covid-19 cases. West Bengal has asked for operations to resume from May 30 in view of the destruction caused by Cyclone Amphan. These are valid reasons and the Centre must ask the airlines to plan routes keeping the request of the states in mind.

Although the aviation sector has suffered huge losses due to the two-month forced closure due to the lockdown, any haste in resuming flights in areas where the administration is not ready to deal with the influx of potential carriers of the coronavirus is fraught with danger. With the travel protocol issued by the Centre prescribing for home quarantine for asymptomatic passengers, it will be difficult to keep tabs on them now that the Aarogya Setu app has been made optional for air travel. Hence it will be wise for the airlines to avoid landing at Mumbai, Pune and other destinations in Maharashtra and other states that are asking for time, for now.

One knows that the Delhi-Mumbai and Mumbai-Bengaluru routes are very lucrative and productive for the airlines but the situation arising out of the rising Covid-19 cases in Maharashtra has to be kept in mind. Since the operations are being started in a calibrated manner, the airlines can, for now, operate more flights on other routes as per demand. They can then scale up the operations once Maharashtra allows flights in its state. The airlines will have to take all the necessary precautions and follow the health protocol to ensure that flying remains a safe option. Like in most other things, there will be a "new" normal in aviation too and passengers will also have to follow it.

The other issue is about the price band fixed by the government. While government intervention in pricing is always to be resisted, one feels that since the measure has been introduced for only the next three months, the airlines have nothing to fear. These are troubling times and they call for some harsh decisions. In any case, one feels that with the scare of Covid-19 still too strong, there will not be an immediate rush for flight tickets apart from people going back home from where they had got stranded or people with extreme urgency. This fact is reflected in the easy availability of tickets at reasonable prices in most sectors after bookings resumed. Travel for leisure or other non-essential reasons will take some time to pick up. By that time, price control will be off and market pricing will be back in force.