Train, air travel unlikely to resume after May 3, say reports

Centre instructs airlines not to take bookings after May 3, says a final call on the matter will be taken after getting inputs of the health ministry

It has been alleged that Indian carriers have been overbooking their flights as COVID-19 cases are receding, and when the number of passengers exceed the number of seats in the aircraft, the airlines do not take them on board. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The government may postpone the opening of rail and air travel further after the May 3 deadline of the second lockdown period to ensure social distancing in view of the rising COVID-19 cases in the country.

Sources who spoke to NDTV said that all airlines have been instructed not to take bookings after May 3.

The Union Ministry of Civil Aviation on Saturday (April 18) issued a clarification that no decision has been taken to resume domestic or international flights yet, after Air India announced that it will start booking for domestic flights from May 4 and for international flights from June 1.

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In a meeting of Group of Ministers (GoM) presided by Union minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday, it was decided that a final call on resuming of train and flight services will be taken after getting inputs of the Union Health Ministry.

However, a minister who had attended the GoM meeting had told Hindustan Times there was a suggestion to start air travel on May 15.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation on April 16 asked airlines to fully refund tickets of passengers who had made domestic and international travel bookings in the period between March 25 and May 3.

The central government had suspended airline and train services before announcing a nationwide lockdown beginning March 25. The lockdown has been further extended to May 3.

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