Flight cancellations might spike, as confusions prevail on states' quarantine norms
New Delhi: Air passengers, who booked tickets for domestic flights starting May 25, were seen harried as confusion prevailed on Saturday regarding various state governments' flight acceptance and quarantine norms.
The confusion was triggered after several state governments announced that they will not allow domestic flight operations, while others said that air passengers will be quarantined.
However, the Centre has made it clear that no such norm should be implemented since inter-state transportation services are allowed under the provisions of lockdown 4.0.
"The disconnect between the MoCA (Ministry of Civil Aviation) stating that the passengers will not be required to quarantine post travel and individual state CMs announcing the rules for quarantine post arrival has got people confused and has resulted in them reaching out to our customer care for clarity," Nishant Pitti, CEO and Co-Founder of EaseMyTrip.com, told IANS.
"The customers are being informed that state quarantine rules apply on the destination they are travelling to. The Centre should sync with individual states on this and shall release uniform guidelines on quarantine, if any, which applies to all the states and rest all the queries to rest," Pitti added.
On its part, GoAir said that it will start ticket booking from May 25 onwards after receiving clarity on states' flight acceptance and quarantine norms.
Accordingly, the airline awaits clarity on the readiness of the respective states and their airports with regard to acceptance of flights, or the conditions applicable to the passengers entering the respective states.
"Without clarity on these conditions, GoAir does not wish to inconvenience its passengers by putting on sale flights immediately post the May 25 that they may book, which will not be permitted to operate to the respective states or may have conditions for arriving passengers of which they may be unaware," the airline said on Saturday.
"On receiving clarity, GoAir will open its site for bookings post the May 25 up to May 31 as and when and where appropriate," it added.
Industry insiders pointed out that majority of bookings received were for flights between metro cities, due to the "pent-up demand", but now with Mumbai being under the cloud of quarantine confusion, a large number of enquiries have been received from passengers traveling to the city.
Earlier, air passengers gave an overwhelming response to the recommencement of passenger flight services from May 25, as healthy demand was witnessed for tickets on all metro routes.
Nonetheless, a spike in cancellations might come about, thereby reducing even the viability of the limited domestic operations.
In terms of flights, industry leader IndiGo will be operating close to 450 flights on Monday, while SpiceJet has opened bookings for 204 daily and 1,431 weekly flights.
On its part, Vistara said that it will be operating a reduced network for the next few weeks, connecting 24 cities across the country.
National carrier Air India, which is already occupied with the eVande Bharat' repatriation mission, has opened bookings for 102 flights.
Furthermore, Alliance Air, a wholly owned subsidiary of Air India, will commence flight operations from May 25 with 57 flight departures per day to different destinations across the country.
The Centre has only allowed limited passenger flight operations of about one -third capacity of the summer schedule to operate between metro cities and other destinations from May 25.
Subsequently, this capacity might be ramped up in the coming period.
"Not all states have gone in for the quarantine norms for air passengers. We might have a slight spike in cancellations but things will normalise soon enough once those cities that quarantine passengers will be revealed," a senior airline executive told IANS.
"We are not just operating metro-to-metro flights, so the demand graph was always supposed to have been dynamic, this just adds to the volatility," he added.
India has allowed airlines to recommence domestic passenger flight operation s in a calibrated manner from May 25.
Passenger air services were suspended for both scheduled domestic and international flights since March 25, due to the imposition of the nationwide lock down in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak.