Saturday, May 23, 2020

Maharashtra govt says no to resuming flight operations, will continue lockdown till May 31

Mumbai: Maharashtra government has said that there is no decision to let flight operations start from Monday in the state, adding that there is no change in policy as of now and the lockdown remains the same till May 31.

The Uddhav Thackeray-led government has said that the Centre "arbitrarily" made the decision to allow domestic flight operations and there was no consultation with the state.

It said that the state needs time to decide on the Standard Operating Protocols (SOP) over air travel, adding that "outside airport, everything becomes state government's responsibility".

Therefore, the Maharashtra government has decided to wait for a discussion with the Center before changing lockdown protocols for flight operation.

Meanwhile, sources in the Ministry of Civil Aviation have said that Maharashtra, like all other states, agreed to allow domestic civil aviation operations from and to the state.

"States were consulted before the decision was finalised. There can be no change as bookings have commenced and passengers are all geared up to fly from Monday," sources said.

The Maharashtra government, in an emailed response to the Centre, said that restrictions on the movement of people and transport both are in place in important cities such as Mumbai and Pune as they are in the red zone.

The state government also cited that it is not clear whether the Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL) has worked out the requirement of staff, their availability, health conditions, and their fitness checkups to resume work at the airport. The email also mentions that MIAL has not yet decided whether their staff will come from containment zones or not.
23/05/20 Sahil Joshi/India Today
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