On 25 May, Domestic flights recommenced after two months. As the operation of airlines suspended on 25th march, the aviation industry received a worst blow, among other industries like Tourism.
Resumption of flights was done despite Objection from certain states. Before restarting of flights, Ministers of state like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal were skeptical skeptical regarding recommencement of flights. Tamil Nadu had suggested delaying the plans till May 31. West Bengal which was recently encountered by the cyclone – Amphan, had also requested to delay plans till May 30 at least.
Recommencement of flights brought it’s own set of challenges. The first day of recommencement was marked by uncertainty and chaos 532 flights were operated and many were cancelled. Cancellation took place due to some states restricting the no. of flights at the last minute and leaving hundreds of people in a stew.
Apart from this a passenger travelling from an Indigo flight from Chennai to Coimbatore was found to be COVID positive. Initially, the passenger was put under institutional quarantine and later was admitted to hospital. Other passengers were tested and the result came negative. The crew members were also grounded. Therefore , air travel will always pose a risk of spreading COVID, which needs to be kept under check.
Keeping all the challenges in mind many measures were taken to ensure protection of passenger and staff.
Therefore , on 21 May, Guidelines were issued by the Ministry of Civil Aviation for recommencing air travel of passengers. Guidelines stated that vulnerable persons, such as very elderly, pregnant ladies, passengers with heath issues are advised to avoid air trvavel ; Passengers will be required to wear the protective gear ( face mask) ; The airlines shall not provide meal on board; The cabin crew are requested to be in full suit, etc.
Moreover, Flights under UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik) also recommenced. The main
objective of Udan, is to make flying affordable and connect underserved and unserved airports across the country. On the resumption of flights under initiative UDAN, preferences will be given to flights connecting Northeast region ,hill states and islands along with short hauls.
Furthermore, Union of Civil Aviation Ministry launched ‘Lifeline UDAN’. Flights under this initiative are being used to transport essential Medical cargo to remote parts of the country during the on going health crisis like COVID-19. Therefore , Lifeline UDAN flights helped support India’s war against corona.
In conclusion, new found challenges due to the on going health crisis is certain to bring major changes in the Aviation Industry.