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Government aims at resuming international flights by mid-June, July

The central government is aiming to restart international flights by mid-June or July, Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Saturday. This is after the government gave its nod to resume domestic flights from May 25.

Speaking to reporters, Puri asserted that the government will try to start a good percentage of international flights before August, if not the entire civil aviation.

“My answer to that question is why August or September? Let us at least in this interaction say that we must have a more ambitious goal. Why not start by June-mid, June-end or July,” the minister said while responding a question.

“Mujhe puri umeed hai ki yeh jo prashn mein date di gayi hai August-September, humari toh koshish yehi rahegi ki usse bohut hi pehle hum agar puri international civil aviation nahi toh kam se kam a good percentage we can start. (The date that is being referred to in this question of August-September, we will strive to start a good percentage of international flights, if not the entire civil aviation, way before August-September),” he added.

The minister further expressed confidence that the domestic flights that starting from Monday will proceed well.

“I’m an optimist. Why wait till August or September? If the situation eases or improves, by that I mean if the virus behaves in a predictable manner, and we get used to the idea of being able to coexist with the virus and we’re in a position to make arrangements. So far Vande Bharat has moved very well. I’m confident that domestic flights when they start on Monday (May 25) they will also proceed well,” he said.

As part of its gradual reboot of air travel services in the wake of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic outbreak, all domestic flights are set to resume in India from May 25, i.e. Monday.

“There’s no contradiction between domestic flights beginning from May 25 and lockdown in India being imposed till May 31,” Puri said.

Passengers have been advised to bring their boarding passes along with them. It has also been made mandatory for the air travellers to download the Aarogya Setu mobile app in their cellphones, which will help authorities determine if the concerned passengers are coming from a COVID-19 hotspot or not.