Restrictions on train and air travel in Indian will likely continue beyond May 3 as the country takes strict steps to contain the spread of COVID-19. When India entered the second round of lockdown, which will end on May 3, many were keen to booking air tickets right after the lockdown. However, now as per the latest news reports, airlines have been ordered not to sell tickets, unless they are notified otherwise.
Reportedly, the Ministry of Civil Aviation had to intervene late Saturday night after Air India reopened its booking window. In a notification posted on Twitter, the Directorate General of Civil (DGCA) Aviation stated that airlines should not sell tickets right after the lockdown and that they will be given ‘sufficient notice and time’ to resume flights.
Initially, India announced a 21-day lockdown until April 14, which was later extended till May 3. But before this extension announcement was made, the airlines started selling tickets. Thereafter, most carriers have been offering credit instead of refunds if flights are cancelled, a practice which other airlines around the world have also been using. Passengers around the world are fighting against it though, and some governments have gone ahead to order airlines to refund passengers without charging a cancellation fee
As of now, no clarity has been given as to when the flights, especially international, will be given a nod to fly. Also, since no specific dates have been given as to when the air and rail travel will start, which will likely extend beyond May 3; and flights might also likely be the last thing to be allowed, stated an official in the know-how.
A source also added that it has been noticed all over the world as well as in India that unrestricted movement of people from overseas had been one of the prominent reasons and carriers behind the spread of the virus. Therefore, the government will be in no hurry to open the skies for international travel; domestic travel might likely be accommodated earlier, he added.