Airline operations in India to remain suspended till 3rd May

The last few days had seen airlines start preparations for limited services starting tomorrow. With the announcement of extension of countrywide lockdown this morning coming from Prime Minister Modi, the flights will remain grounded for some more time.

Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) released a notification soon and was followed with an official NOTAM.

 (G0235/20 NOTAMR G0210/20

  1. Q) VIXX/QXXXX/IV/NBO/W/000/999/
  2. A) VIDF VABF VECF VOMF
  3. B) 2004140830 C) 2005031829
  4. E) COVID-19: IN EXERCISE OF THE POWERS CONFERRED BY SUB SECTION (1) OF SECTION 8B OF AIRCRAFT ACT 1934 (XXII OF 1934), THE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT HEREBY DIRECTS THAT:
  5. THE OPERATION OF ALL SCHEDULED DOMESTIC FLIGHTS (EXCEPT ALL-CARGO FLIGHTS) BY ANY AIRCRAFT OPERATOR HOLDING AN AIR OPERATOR CERTIFICATE ISSUED BY DGCA-INDIA CEASES WITH EFFECT FROM 1829 UTC ON 24 MAR 2020.
  6. THE OPERATION OF FLIGHTS BY THE HOLDERS OF NON SCHEDULED OPERATOR PERMIT (EXCEPT ALL-CARGO FLIGHTS, OFF-SHORE HELICOPTER OPERATIONS, MEDICAL EVACUATION FLIGHTS OR FLIGHT SPECIFICALLY APPROVED BY DGCA-INDIA) AND FLIGHTS BY PRIVATE AIRCRAFT OPERATORS ALSO CEASES WITH EFFECT FROM 1829 UTC ON 24 MAR 2020.
  7. THE ABOVE RESTRICTIONS SHALL NOT APPLY TO AIRCRAFT/HELICOPTER(S) BELONGING TO OR BEING OPERATED ON BEHALF OF STATE/UT GOVERNMENTS.
  8. ALL AIRPORTS SHALL CONTINUE TO FUNCTION FOR HANDLING THE PERMITTED FLIGHT OPERATIONS.
  9. THE ABOVE INSTRUCTIONS SHALL REMAIN IN FORCE TILL 1829 UTC ON 03 MAY 2020.)

All scheduled domestic flights (except all-cargo flights) will not be allowed to operate till 1829 hours UTC on 3rd May 2020. Airports will continue to operate to handle aircraft/helicopters(s) belonging to or being operated on behalf of State governments and union territories.

(G0236/20 NOTAMR G0211/20

  1. Q) VIXX/QXXXX/IV/NBO/W/000/999/
  2. A) VIDF VABF VECF VOMF
  3. B) 2004140833 C) 2005031829
  4. E) COVID-19: IN ORDER TO RESTRICT THE SPREAD OF COVID-19 (NOVEL CORONA VIRUS 2019) DISEASE IN INDIA, FOLLOWING RESTRICTIONS ARE IMPOSED ON ALL SCHEDULED INDIAN AND FOREIGN AIRLINES ENGAGED IN INTERNATIONAL AIR TRANSPORTATION TO/FROM INDIA:
  5. NO SCHEDULED INTERNATIONAL COMMERCIAL PASSENGER AIRCRAFT SHALL TAKE OFF FROM ANY FOREIGN AIRPORT FOR ANY AIRPORT IN INDIA AFTER 0001 UTC OF 22 MAR 2020 TILL 1829 UTC OF 03 MAY 2020.
  6. THESE INSTRUCTIONS ARE IN ADDITION TO THE TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS/ ADVISORIES ALREADY ISSUED AND UNDER IMPLEMENTATION.
  7. THE RESTRICTIONS DO NOT APPLY TO ACFT OPERATED IN THE FOLLOWING CIRCUMSTANCES:
    – AIRCRAFT IN A STATE OF EMERGENCY
    – AT ALTERNATE AERODROMES IDENTIFIED IN A FLT PLAN
    (INCLUDING THOSE FOR EDTO)
    – CARGO FLIGHTS
    – TECHNICAL LANDINGS WHERE PASSENGERS DO NOT DISEMBARK
  8. OPERATIONS RELATED TO HUMANITARIAN AID, MEDICAL SUPPLIES OR RELIEF FLIGHTS WILL NEED APPROVAL FROM DIRECTOR GENERAL OF CIVIL AVIATION, INDIA. THIS WILL REQUIRE COORDINATION BETWEEN THE DIPLOMATIC REPRESENTATIVES FROM CONCERNED COUNTRY IN INDIA AND THE MINISTRY OF CIVIL AVIATION.
  9. THE ABOVE ARE TEMPORARY MEASURES TO RESTRICT THE SPREAD OF COVID-19, AND ARE SUBJECT TO REVIEW BY GOVERNMENT.
  10. OVERFLYING FLIGHTS TO OPERATE WITH DUE PERMISSION AS PER PROCEDURES ALREADY IN PLACE.)

No scheduled international commercial passenger aircraft can take off from any foreign airport destined for India until 1829hours UTC of 3rd May 2020. Airports in India will continue to handle cargo aircraft, those in emergency, technical landings where passengers do not disembark, humanitarian and medical suppliers or relief flights, along with overflying flights.

The domestic services were stopped in India from 2359 hours local time on 24th March 2020 and International services were stopped two days prior to this.

IndiGo – India’s largest carrier by fleet and domestic market share has been first off the block to communicate to the market that it intends to start operations from 4th May 2020. The airline says it would start with slight curtailed capacity and will increase capacity in subsequent months. The airline would also open select international flights, subject to travel guidelines. A search shows that the airline has certain flights to Singapore open for sale post 3rd May.

The resumption of services will be entirely dependent on how the Coronavirus situation plays out in India. Delhi and Mumbai have seen a spike in cases and both remain the backbone of aviation in India – both domestic and international. For now, over 650 aircraft remain grounded at various airports across the country.

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