Minister for Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri on Tuesday said domestic flights to different cities in India will resume once the state governments express their willingness to allow operations “in the spirit of cooperative federalism”. His comments came after the Centre said the consent of home states of migrants would no longer be required for the special trains transporting them.

“It is not up to the Ministry of Civil Aviation or the Centre alone to decide on resuming domestic flights,” he tweeted. “In the spirit of cooperative federalism, the government of states where these flights will take off and land should be ready to allow civil aviation operations.”

Commercial flight operations remain suspended until at least May 31 as the Centre extended the ongoing nationwide lockdown to rein in the coronavirus pandemic. The fourth phase of lockdown started on May 18 and the Centre retained its ban on air travel. Only flights to help those repatriated from different countries and medical evacuation aircrafts have been operational domestically.

On May 9, Puri had said that preparations to restart civil aviation operations are in place. “As soon as a decision is taken in this regard we will be able to take off immediately. We also foresee changes in the way people travelled thus far,” he added. “A calibrated reopening can happen after the lockdown.”

India has so far recorded 1,06,759 coronavirus cases with 3,303 deaths, figures from the health ministry said.

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