Some airlines to operate flights during Janata curfew

Ashwini Phadnis New Delhi | Updated on March 20, 2020

The domestic airline sector will operate some flights this Sunday during the Janata curfew between 7 am and 9 pm, as announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address to the nation on Thursday. Modi had requested everyone, except those required for essential services, to stay indoors during the curfew hours.

Sources in Air India, SpiceJet, IndiGo and Vistara confirmed that some flights will operate during the curfew.

Sources in Vistara said some flights may be reschedued or cancelled. Similarly, SpiceJet sources said no directions had yet been received to stop the flights. “Some flights will operate between 7 am and 9 pm this Sunday,” sources in Air India said. When the government was contacted to check if domestic flights would operate during the curfew, sources said “let us see”.

Meanwhile, sources in the ground-handling business said, till now, only a few flights have been cancelled by domestic airlines. “One small player has not cancelled even a single flight while a larger player has cancelled less than 5 per cent of its daily departures,” said a ground handling agency’s spokesperson. The official declined to give details.

Demand to dampen further

The domestic aviation sector was in pain even before the corona virus struck. The CAPA, in its report on the impact of Covid-19 on Indian aviation released earlier this week, had pointed out that with new advisories and restrictions being announced every day, and with the Indian government urging people to avoid all non-essential travel, demand is expected to weaken substantially, with a 40-50 per cent drop or even more in the near term, as being seen in other markets.

Published on March 20, 2020

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