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Coronavirus lockdown | A day after domestic flights resumed, seats go abegging

More precautions: Passengers arriving at Terminal 3 of the Delhi airport on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Weak demand for air travel continued to haunt airlines on the second day of domestic flight operations on Tuesday as most flights saw only 25%-50% seats occupied by passengers, and in some cases this was as low as 7%.

Also read: Many States follow Centre’s flight rules

However, flights to Mumbai saw a slight improvement in sales as the State government on Monday relaxed quarantine norms for short-term travel, it is learnt. Passengers travelling to the city for less than seven days have been exempted from isolation, provided they don’t travel to Mumbai’s hotspots.

600 flights operated

Over 600 flights ferried more than 41,673 passengers on the second day of the reopening of domestic travel, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Hardeep Puri said.

Also read: 832 flights operated on Monday: Hardeep Singh Puri

Tuesday also saw flights to the Vijaywada and Vishakapatnam airports in Telangana restart. Both airports saw four flights each.

Some airlines also cancelled their flights in order to reduce frequencies on a given route because of the large number of seats that remained unsold. They accommodated their passengers on flights scheduled later in the day. Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, which saw 267 arrivals and departures, witnessed 25 cancellations. Smaller airports like Goa, which had a mere five flights scheduled, too saw cancellations.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), a global body of airlines, said on Tuesday that quarantine norms were proving to be an obstacle to airlines restarting operations.

“We think we should avoid (putting in place quarantine measures). We will advocate to states or governments to not put quarantine if they want air travel to restart,” Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and Chief Executive Officer, said during a conference call with the global media. He added that IATA did not think that general quarantine was right.

Also read: With India all set to open domestic travel health ministry issues travel guidelines

Though the industry is opposed to quarantine protocols, a passenger travelling on an IndiGo flight from Chennai to Coimbatore tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival on Monday.

Air India's poor customer care service proved to be a nightmare for many passengers, who stormed the airline’s time line on Twitter, demanding refunds for cancelled flights and complaining about a lack of response from the airline’s customer care.

“Over 70% of the complaints received today on EaseMyTrip.com’s customer care are about Air India alone. Also, Air India has a manual system for refund applications, which takes them up to 45-60 days to process,” said Nishant Pitti, CEO and co-founder, EaseMyTrip.com.


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Printable version | Jul 29, 2021 6:53:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/coronavirus-lockdown-a-day-after-domestic-flights-resumed-seats-go-abegging/article31681241.ece

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