Mumbai: Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik today said that the state has agreed to allow 25 take offs and 25 landings every day for domestic flights from Mumbai. “This number will be increased gradually. State govt will issue details and guidelines in this regard soon,” he said. Meanwhile, Maharashtra recorded 3,041 Covid-19 cases, the highest daily spike, taking the state tally to 50,231, a health official said.
Malik’s statement came hours after Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray sought more time from the Civil Aviation Ministry for restarting the operations at the Mumbai international airport. He also said that minimum possible domestic flights from Maharashtra be initiated from Monday. In an online briefing, Thackeray said, “I spoke to civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri today and told him that the Mumbai international airport needs more time to resume its operations.
The government today framed guidelines for international arrivals of passengers in India as the country gets ready to open up its airspace after months of lockdown. According to the rules, all travellers shall give an undertaking that they would undergo mandatory quarantine for 14 days: 7 days paid institutional quarantine at their own cost, followed by 7 days isolation at home with self-monitoring of health. Apart from this, at the time of boarding the flight, only asymptomatic travelers will be allowed to board after thermal screening.
The guidelines come a day ahead of flight operations resuming on select domestic routes even though some states have expressed apprehension over the “hurry”. Amid the tussle between the Centre and states over resumption of domestic flights from May 25, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh has said it’s “extremely ill-advised to reopen airports in red zone”. “Mere thermal scanning of passengers inadequate w/o swabs. Impossible to have autos, cabs, buses ply in current circumstances. Adding positive passenger will add Covid stress to red zone. #MaharashtraGovtCares,” Deshmukh tweeted. The minister said getting passengers to come from a green zone to a red one putting them at risk of exposure doesn’t make sense. “Keeping a busy airport up & running with all Covid-safety measures will need huge staff presence and compound risk in the red zone.”
All scheduled commercial passenger flights have been suspended in India since March 25 when the lockdown was announced. Since the government’s announcement of allowing these services in a phased manner last Thursday, all domestic carriers have commenced bookings for their flights on domestic routes from May 25. As per the May 19 order of the state government extending the coronavirus-induced lockdown till the end of the month, all domestic and international air travel, except for domestic medical services, domestic air ambulance and for security purposes as permitted by Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), will continue to remain prohibited across the state.