Will Start Some Flights From May 4, Says IndiGo After Lockdown Extension

All major airlines except Air India said they were taking domestic bookings for dates after April 14. Air India is taking bookings for dates post April 30 only.

Will Start Some Flights From May 4, Says IndiGo After Lockdown Extension

The aviation sector has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. (Representational)

Highlights

  • The aviation sector has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic
  • Air India announced a 10 per cent cut in allowance for every employee
  • Only cargo flights and special flights are permitted during the lockdown
New Delhi:

IndiGo, the country's largest private airline, announced today that it will resume flights from May 4, a day after the extended lockdown to check the spread of coronavirus is to end. The airline will start with fewer flights and ramp it up over the next few months, even restoring select international flights, its CEO said.

"Complementing the government's efforts against COVID-19, we will restart flight operations on vital corridors of air traffic from May 04, 2020. We will begin operations for domestic only and then gradually ramp it up further, to commence operations on some international routes as well," said IndiGo CEO Ronojoy Dutta.

"Our singular focus will be on ensuring the health of our customers and our employees. We are working closely with the government and the airports to take our aircraft and our airports to a significantly higher level of cleanliness while ensuring social distancing," he said in a statement.

The airline says it will facilitate bookings for up to a year for customers who are affected by flight cancellations until May 3.

The government has said all passenger flights will remain suspended till May 3, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended the nationwide lockdown to fight the spread of coronavirus. Minister Hardeep Puri said after May 3, the government could consider ending the restrictions on domestic and international flights.

"There were good reasons for the lockdown to be extended till 3rd May. We can consider lifting restrictions on both domestic and international flights thereafter. I understand the problems being faced by people who need to travel and request them to bear with us," Hardeep Puri tweeted.

The aviation sector has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Airlines have either slashed salaries or asked employees to go on a sabbatical without pay.

Last week, there was some talk about resuming flights partially, but this may only happen next month after the extension of the lockdown.

IndiGo announced a pay cut of up to 25 per cent for its senior employees and Vistara announced compulsory leave without pay for up to three days for its senior employees in March.

SpiceJet said salaries would be cut by 10 to 30 per cent and Air India has announced a 10 per cent cut in allowances for every employee, except cabin crew, for three months.

Ticket prices are likely to shoot up after flights resume. With flights operating at 50 per cent of their capacity, airlines may need to substantially hike ticket prices.