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    Coronavirus lockdown exit plan: Post May 3 skies still murky for Indian airlines

    Coronavirus lockdown exit plan: Post May 3 skies still murky for Indian airlines

    Coronavirus lockdown exit plan: Post May 3 skies still murky for Indian airlines
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    By Anu Sharma   IST (Published)

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    If you plan to book a flight ticket after May 3, then you should know that the civil aviation ministry is yet to inform the airlines about the resumption plan for domestic and international flights.

    If you plan to book a flight ticket after May 3, then you should know that the civil aviation ministry is yet to inform the airlines about the resumption plan for domestic and international flights.
    "No fresh directive has been issued to airlines so far on flight resumption. These decisions will depend on the management of COVID-19," a senior government official told CNBC-TV18.
    It is important to note here that the first phase of lockdown started from March 24 and was expected to end on April 14. As a result, domestic flights were also suspended from March 25 until April 14.
    Now, as most airlines assumed that the operations will resume from April 15, they continued taking bookings till April 13 but with a caveat that customers should check back for updates. IndiGo was clearer than others and told customers that flight is on schedule but approval from relevant authorities is awaited.
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    This means that while they were ready to resume flights from April 15 with less capacity and in implementation of social distancing norms, they needed another order from the government to resume flights.
    With the extension of lockdown until May 3, the DGCA and ministry of civil aviation issued an order on April 14 extending the ban on domestic and international passenger flights until May 3.
    This led to automatic cancellation of all flights during the period but unlike railways, here the passengers are not getting refunds. Airlines have started issuing a credit shell to passengers equivalent to the booking fare and the passenger can use this shell for a later period but any fare difference will have to be paid by the passenger. In fact, Vistara has informed passengers that if they don't wish to keep the credit shell, then usual cancellation charges will apply on the booked ticket.
    Interestingly, state-run Air India shut its booking window on April 3 until April 30.
    So should you book an air ticket post-May 3? If you are then do remember that flights will resume when the government will issue a resumption order via civil aviation ministry or DGCA and until then, all flight bookings post-May 3 should be seen with a hint of uncertainty.
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