oppn parties Flights To Resume From Tomorrow But Some States Object

News Snippets

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  • India and China agree on total disengagement to return to peace ahead of the next round of military talks
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  • Despite localized lockdown, Covid cases continue to rise at an alarming rate in West Bengal. Newer areas brought under containment zones in Kolkata
  • ICSE, ISC results declared, Average scores in the English paper, 20% lower this year than the average in most years, pulls down the aggregate for most candidates
  • IIP contracts by 35% in May. Manufacturing goes down by 39.3%
  • Row erupts over CBSE's decision to reduce the syllabus by 30% this academic year due to the disruption caused by the pandemic. Experts say several lessons that the ruling dispensation does not like are being removed
  • Gangster Vikas Dubey's nephew killed in an encounter by UP police who also pick up his key aide Raju Khullar and his son Adarsh
  • MHA sets up an inter-ministerial committee to probe the alleged financial misdeeds of three trusts linked to the Gandhi family
  • Actor Jagdeep, most famous for his Soorma Bhopali act in Sholay, passes away
  • Pakistan says Kulbhushan Jadhav has declined to file a review petition and will stick to his mercy plea. India calls it a farce
  • India to keep a strict vigil to confirm that the Chinese are abiding by the deal on the pullback at the LAC
Amitabh Bachchan and his son Abhishek admitted to hospital for coronavirus
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.