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Domestic, international flight ops suspended till May 17

The ban on domestic, international flight operations has been extended till May 17, in line with the nationwide lockdown extension necessitated by the coronavirus outbreak.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said the foreign and domestic airlines will be informed about the opening of their operations in due course.

“The restriction shall not apply to international all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by DGCA,” read the circular from the aviation watchdog.

Meanwhile, airlines have begun practising mock drills to educate and prepare staff for the new social distancing normal due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Prime Minister Modi has already emphasised the importance of ‘do gaj doori (distance of two yards), saying it should be a mantra for all in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

On Friday, revising downwards its forecast, global aviation consultancy CAPA projected India’s domestic air traffic at 5.5-7 crore for the current financial year citing structural damage and weakness of customer sentiment becoming more visible.

The latest forecast is a sharp downward revision compared to the traffic of 8-9 crore passengers estimated earlier for the same period.

Social distancing protocols would constrain airline capacity but demand in the second quarter is expected to be so weak in any case that it is unlikely that traffic would be much higher even if there were no restrictions, it noted.

On the same day, PM Modi held a meeting to review plans that could help in making the country’s civil aviation sector more efficient and able to cope with the consequences of the nationwide lockdown and closure of the Indian air space to fight the coronavirus disease.

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