More than 1.65 lakh people travelled in 2,198 flights since resumption of services

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More than 1.65 lakh people have travelled in 2,198 flights till Friday afternoon after the government allowed partial resumption of domestic services from Monday amid the coronavirus-induced lockdown. Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, who has been sharing daily updates on the numbers of flights and flyers, said, “Our airports continue to function smoothly.” So far, 16 asymptomatic passengers on seven different flights have tested positive for the novel coronavirus after landing in their respective destinations.

Private carriers have operated a total of 2,198 flights till 5 pm on Friday — 428 on Monday, 445 on Tuesday, 460 on Wednesday, 494 on Thursday and 371 on Friday.

During the pre-lockdown period, Indian airports handled around 3,000 daily domestic flights, aviation industry sources said.

Domestic flight operations resumed in the country on Monday after a gap of two months due to the coronavirus lockdown. International passenger flights continue to remain suspended.

“Day 5, May 29, 2020 till 1700 hours. Departures 371. 30,814 passengers handled. Arrivals 324. 27,212 passengers handled,” Puri tweeted.

In another tweet, he said, “Figures for domestic flights for 28th May 2020 till 2359 hours: Day 4, Departures 494, 38,078 passengers handled, Arrivals 493, 38,389 passengers handled.”

On Wednesday, 460 planes flew 34,336 passengers.

On Tuesday, the minister tweeted, “Our skies & airports are busy again. On 26th May, the 2nd day of recommencement of domestic passenger flights in India, our airports handled 62,641 flyers on 445 departures & 447 arrivals. All airport functioning was smooth. Only 6 departures were rescheduled.”

An official said Tuesday’s figure of flyers was cumulative of departures and arrivals and that the actual number would be around half of it. On Monday, a total of 428 domestic flights carrying 30,550 passengers operated.

In February, when the lockdown was not imposed, around 4.12 lakh passengers travelled daily through domestic flights in India, according to Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) data.

Airports in West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana and Tamil Nadu have been allowed to handle a restricted number of daily flights as these states do not want a huge influx of flyers amid the rising number of COVID-19 cases.

While domestic services resumed in Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday, they restarted in West Bengal on Thursday.

Though domestic flight operations across the country began on May 25, they could not be restarted in Kolkata and Bagdogra as the West Bengal machinery was involved in relief and restoration work after cyclone Amphan’s devastation.

A total of 16 asymptomatic passengers on seven different flights, including 13 who travelled by IndiGo, have tested positive for COVID-19 since the resumption of domestic air services.

Two of the rest three asymptomatic passengers who tested positive for the infection had travelled by Spicejet while one took a flight of Air India subsidiary Alliance Air.

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