Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Govt to allow private airlines to operate repatriation flights

In a respite for private domestic carrier, who are struggling with poor finances due to grounding since March, the government will soon allow these private airlines to conduct repatriation flights to bring back Indians stuck in foreign land.
The aviation ministry today held a meeting, which was convened by aviation secretary Pradeep Sigh Kharola, along with all airlines to discuss the issue and discussions were held to allow private airlines for the flights.
“The fares and flights, which the private carriers will operates, are still under discussions and will be announced soon,” said a top government official, who did not want to be identified.
Currently, national carrier Air India and its low-cost subsidiary Air India Express has been carrying out such flights on behalf of the government. While Air India, which has long-haul aircraft in its fleet, and can evacuate Indians from the US and Europe, private domestic carriers can provide evacuation flights to short-haul international destinations.
Another senior official added that airlines will have to take permission from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) before every such flight.
“Since these flights are unscheduled, airlines will have to take approvals for those flights,” said another government official, on a condition of anonymity.
Such repatriation flights, where passengers are charged for travel, will provide revenues to airlines, who have been grounded since end of March and are under deep financial stress.
The permission for repatriation flights has come after the government did not provide any support to the ailing airline industry in the Rs 20 lakh crore bailout package announced last week.
20/05/20 Mihir Mishra/Economic Times

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