National carrier Air India on Friday opened bookings from 12.30 pm onwards, days after the Ministry of Civil Aviation announced that some domestic flights will resume operations from May 25. All flights, domestic and international, were suspended in March, as India imposed a nationwide lockdown to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
“Good News! Our Domestic Flight Bookings will start from 1230 hours today,” Air India tweeted. “To book login to http://airindia.in or contact authorised travel agents or visit our booking offices or call customer care.”
Private carriers, including IndiGo, SpiceJet, AirAsia and Vistara, also reopened their bookings.
On Thursday, the Ministry of Civil Aviation issued new guidelines for domestic flight operations from May 25, shortly after the Airports Authority of India released standard operating procedures. According to the guidelines, only one check-in bag and a cabin baggage will be allowed. Meal service will not be provided on board.
Later in the day, Minister of Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri said that quarantining passengers would not be required as those who test positive during screening will not be allowed to board the flights. He added that each aircraft is disinfected after every flight, passengers are tested through thermal screening and are required to wear masks. The crew members also wear protective gear, Puri said.
The middle seat will not be kept vacant to enforce physical distancing, as this could result in either heavy losses to airlines, or a large increase in ticket prices, Puri said.
As of Friday morning, the number of Covid-19 cases in India rose to 1.18 lakh and the toll stood at 3,583, according to the health ministry.
Corrections and clarifications: This story has been edited to reflect that private carriers IndiGo, SpiceJet, AirAsia and Vistara have also reopened their flight bookings.