Saturday, April 18, 2020

India Asks Airlines to Stop Sales Before Lockdown Curbs Lifted

India’s Aviation Ministry has asked airlines to take travel bookings only after a final decision on lifting or easing restrictions on domestic and international flights is announced. “The Ministry of Civil Aviation clarifies that so far no decision has been taken to open domestic or international operations,” Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said in a tweet late Saturday. It wasn’t immediately clear if it was a binding order or an advisory. The country is currently in the midst of a nationwide lockdown until May 3 to control the spread of coronavirus infections.
India had initially announced a 21-day lockdown until April 14, and airlines had started selling tickets for flights before an extension until May 3 was announced on Tuesday. There’s been no clarity so far if flights, especially international, will be allowed even when the lockdown is lifted.
Airlines are now selling domestic and international tickets for flights starting from May 4. National carrier Air India on its website on Saturday said it opened bookings on selected domestic routes from May 4, and international ones from June 1.
Most carriers have been offering credit instead of refunds if flights are canceled due to the travel curbs and the ticket sales were providing them with much-needed cash flow at a time when all other sources of revenue have dried up.
18/04/20 Anurag Kotoky/Bloomberg | Quint
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