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New Delhi, April 18, 2020
The Government today said that it had not taken any decision so far on opening domestic or international flight operations after they were banned as a part of the lockdown imposed in the country to contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Accordingly, the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) advised airlines to open bookings only after a decision in this regard is taken by the Government.
"The Ministry of Civil Aviation clarifies that so far no decision has been taken to open domestic or international operations. Airlines are advised to open their bookings only after a decision in this regard is taken by the Government," the MoCA said on Twitter late this evening.
The clarification from the Ministry has come after national carrier Air India said on its website that it had started accepting bookings for select domestic flights for travel from May 4 onwards, when the extended lockdown is due to end.
The airline said it has also opened bookings for select international flights for travel from June 1 onwards.
"Bookings for select domestic flights for travel from 04th May 2020 and for select international flights for travel 01st June 2020 onwards are open," the airline said on its website.
"The situation is being constantly reviewed and we shall keep you updated," it added.
Earlier, low-cost carrier IndiGo had said in a press release on April 14 that it would resume flight operations from May 4 in a phased manner.
It said it would initially start with a slightly curtailed capacity and increase the operating capacity over the subsequent months. It said it would also reopen selected international flights, depending on the existing international travel guidelines.
All domestic and international flights are currently banned in India after the government imposed a 21-day lockdown from March 25 onwards and later extended it by 19 days till May 3. In fact, international flights had been banned from March 22.
Air India had stopped accepting bookings for domestic flights upto May 3 and for international flights till May 31.