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Covid impact: Air fares on domestic flights to be capped – Livemint

Domestic flights, that are set to resume operations from next week, will have a lower and upper price limit on fares, according to a document from Ministry of Civil Aviation, reviewed by Mint.

The fare limit will be in place during the coronavirus outbreak, the document says, but it is not clear till how long the measure would last.

Civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri had earlier on Wednesday tweeted that flight operation will resume in a calibrated manner from 25 May.

The resumption of flights will come with various other caveats, according to a document containing general instructions for commencement of domestic flight services, prepared by the ministry of civil aviation (MoCA) on Thursday.

For instance, airlines will now have to adhere to a lower and upper limit of fares prescribed by the aviation ministry. Only a third of total flights will be operational during the recommencement of operations, and passengers with confirmed web check-in will only be allowed inside the airports, according to an order by the ministry of civil aviation.

Airlines will not provide meals services for passengers, check-in bags will not be allowed inside the cabin, passengers will be required to wear a face a face mask for travel and need to reach the airport at least two hours before their flights. Passengers with red status on Aarogya Setu App would not be permitted to travel.

The civil aviation ministry has divided passenger guidelines into four parts, according to various stages of travel which include, origin to airport, at the airport, in the aircraft, and from airport to destination.

“Passengers should familiarise themselves about the new procedures at the airport. Especially, about the noms of social distancing, minimum touch, baggage limitations, covid-19 declaration, registering on Aarogya Setu App, digital payments, use of authorized taxis,” the document said.

“Expect slower processes and hence avoid last minute reaching the airport. In the initial stage passenger would be entitled to carry maximum of one hand baggage and one checked-in baggage as per the specifications by the airline of his travel,” it added.

The ministry of home affairs on Wednesday removed domestic air travel from the list of prohibited activities under the existing lockdown in place till 31 March.

Passengers will be able to only use home authorized taxis to travel to and from airports.

The Civil Aviation ministry has also tasked airlines to make all arrangements to ensure that the risk of transmission of covid-19 virus is minimized.

“Precautionary measures need to be taken within the aircraft as well at the time of check-in, boarding and arrival at the destination. The airlines shall ensue coordination among the other service providers such as the airports, security agencies, ground handling agencies etc,” the document added.

India suspended all flights since 25 March when the government first imposed a nationwide lockdown to contain covid-19. The lockdown has since been extended thrice, every fortnight, from the initial announcement date. The latest and fourth phase will run till 31 May.