Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said at a press conference that the domestic flights resuming next week will be placed in seven categories on the basis of the journey’s duration, and limits will be set on fares, which would be in place till August 24.
The minister said each band would have its specific lower and upper limits of air fare, and the first such band will consist of flights that are of less than 40 minutes duration.
The subsequent bands from the second to the seventh would be of flights with durations- Flight routes have been classified into 7 – 1) Flight time less than 40 minutes, 2) 40 – 60 minutes, 3) 60 – 90 minutes, 4) 90 – 120 minutes, 5) 120 – 150 minutes, 6) 150 – 180 minutes, 7) 180 – 210 minutes. All routes within the country fall within these 7, Puri said at the press conference.
However, Puri did not say what would be the upper limit and lower limit fares, and when would airlines be able to open their bookings for domestic flights.
“We’ve set a minimum & a maximum fare. In the case of Delhi, Mumbai the minimum fare would be Rs 3500 for a journey between 90-120 minutes, maximum fare would be Rs 10,000. This is operative for 3 months – till one minute to midnight on 24th August”, said Puri
Aviation Secretary P S Kharola, who was also present at the press conference, said 40 per cent of the seats would have to be sold at the mid-point of the lower and upper air fare limits set for the flights. Puri said he can’t comment right now on when flight operations would be restored completely.
“We gained some experience from Vande Bharat mission. Now we are opening 1/3rd of our domestic civil aviation operations. Whatever experience we gain now, on that basis we would then go to open international travel,” he said.
If a passenger does not have the Aarogya Setu app on her or his phone for some reason, they can give a self-declaration form, the minister said, adding that they will not be stopped from boarding the flight.
The minister added that private carriers will join the Vande Bharat mission to repatriate Indians stranded abroad amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Puri said by the end of the month, total 50,000 Indians would be brought back from abroad under the mission.
The Vande Bharat mission began on May 7. Till date, only Air India and its subsidiary Air India Express have been operating flights under this mission.