Aviation ministry targets July for resuming commercial international flights

With inquiries growing over the past few days, Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri has expressed his view on India’s plans to resume international commercial passenger flights.

On Friday, the minister tweeted: “We are continuously monitoring the situation and will consider restarting international flights as soon as situation normalises a bit and poses no danger to our citizens. We will also have to consider that countries, where we intend to fly, are open to incoming foreign citizens.”

Under ‘Unlock 1.0’ guidelines released by the Ministry of Home Affairs on May 30, international flight operations remain suspended till June 30.

In fact, the guidelines stated that the resumption of operations will be discussed in ‘phase 3’ of Unlock 1.0, a timeline for which was not set at the time.

India Today TV has now learnt from highly-placed sources that the Ministry of Civil Aviation is targeting resumption of regular international flights by July.

But Is this possible? Resumption of commercial international flights depends on several factors. To begin with, domestic civil aviation operations, which restarted after a two-month gap on May 25, will have to see an increase in the number of flights being operated.

Currently, the ministry has permitted airlines to operate 1/3rd capacity of the summer schedule, which roughly means 33 per cent of the overall capacity of flights are currently up in the air.

Even then, state governments have imposed restrictions and are curtailing operations, in view of the overall pandemic scenario in their respective states.

Aviation minister Hardeep Puri has indicated that domestic operations will have to touch the 50-60 per cent mark for international flights to become viable.

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