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Resumed: 532 flights ferry over 39k passengers on Monday
New Delhi, May 25, 2020
A total of 532 domestic flights were operated on Monday, which ferried 39,231 passengers, as the complete suspension of commercial air services across the country was lifted after two months.
Taking to Twitter, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said that with Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal scheduled to resume operations on Tuesday and Thursday, the number of flights and passengers will increase in the days to come.
"From no domestic passenger flights yesterday to 532 flights & 39,231 passengers today, action has returned to Indian skies. With Andhra Pradesh set to resume operations from tomorrow & West Bengal from 28 May, these numbers are all set to increase further," Puri said.
Marking the occasion, Puri had earlier in the day shared a live image of India's airspace with flight movements on Twitter.
In that tweet, Puri said: "Indians soar in the skies again! A beautiful live capture from #flightradar24 shows how our skies look busy again as domestic civil aviation recommences in India from today."
Industry insiders pointed out that a majority of the bookings were for flights between metro cities, due to the "pent-up demand".
Furthermore, airlines reported healthy load factors and expected passenger count levels.
However, the resumption did face some initial hiccups as passengers were seen harried across airports, including the national capital's Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) after many domestic flights were cancelled due to the limit on arrivals and departures by state governments.
On the first day of resumption of domestic passenger flight services, the IGIA witnessed over 80 flight cancellations.
According to industry insiders, the IGIA was slated to handle 118 arrival and 125 departure flights on Monday.
Similarly, Mumbai's CSMIA was to handle 24 arrivals and 23 departures. It was scheduled to handle over 100 flights, but the state government on Sunday capped this to 25 each.
Passenger air services were suspended on March 25 due to the nationwide lockdown to check the COVID-19 spread.