Maha, TN, West Bengal seek delay in restarting flights as coronavirus cases rise

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: May 24, 2020, 03:30 PM(IST)

The travel validity for the tickets booked under the 5-day Republic Day offer stands between March 1 and December 31, 2018 and will be limited to a number of seats, GoAir said in a release today. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

India is gradually reopening its economy after lockdown 4.0, and airlines are preparing to resume about a third of their domestic flight operations from Monday.

Three large Indian states have sought to delay the planned opening of their airports on Monday as new cases of the novel coronavirus jumped by a record. They say the rise has complicated the government's plan to resume flights after a two-month lockdown.

India registered 6,767 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Sunday, the country's biggest 24 hour jump yet, taking the total to over 1,31,000.

Amid this crisis, India is gradually reopening its economy after lockdown 4.0, and airlines are preparing to resume about a third of their domestic flight operations from Monday.

To this end, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal -- all major business hubs and home to the country's busiest airports -- have said they are not prepared to open for flights amid rising coronavirus cases, according to Reuters.

Maharashtra has reported nearly 29,000 positive infections, almost a fifth of reported cases in the country.

"It's extremely ill-advised to reopen airports in the red zone," Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said on Twitter on Sunday.

Airlines including IndiGo, India's biggest carrier, SpiceJet Ltd and Vistara, a joint venture between Tata Group and Singapore Airlines are preparing to restart some operations from Monday.

Budget carrier GoAir, however, said it would resume flight operations from June 1 as it awaits clarity on the readiness of states and their airports.

Tamil Nadu has asked India's civil aviation ministry to defer the operation of flights from Chennai airport until the end of May due to rising cases in the city, a Reuters report said.

West Bengal has also urged the central government to postpone the resumption of passenger flights to Kolkata as it focusses on rescue work after Cyclone Amphan hit the city.

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