Today came one announcement we’ve been waiting to hear…

Domestic flights will resume on May 25!

The details are still unclear, but the news came in the form of a tweet from aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri:

The word ‘calibrated’ suggests it won’t just be a case of ‘business as usual’, however.

The government earlier floated the idea of only having flights between ‘green zone’ destinations where the rate of coronavirus infection is low, though there was a backlash from airlines, who said they might not fly if they couldn’t serve major metro cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.

Social distancing measures at airports expected

Guidelines will soon be released, and it is expected that airports and airlines will have to apply a number of social distancing measures when they reopen.

As per the Economic Times, passengers will be urged to comply with measures designed to stop the spread of covid-19. A major worry is the handling of luggage, so travellers will be encouraged to take as little with them as possible.

Passengers can expect to face thermal screening before they fly, reach the airport earlier and maintain a safe distance from others at all stages of their journey. A source told the paper:

“A lot of points are being discussed and there are inputs being given by all stakeholders, including airport operators and security agencies. The aviation ministry in consultation with the health ministry will come up a set of guidelines soon. We are very clear that we want to entirely discourage cabin baggage and advice passengers to carry just one luggage item. More the luggage, the higher are the chances of contamination.”

There are also reports passengers will be required to carry paper print outs of their boarding passes, wear a mask and have a 350ml bottle of hand sanitizer with them.

Deep cleaning and disinfection at airports is expected to be stepped up.

And there are more trains, too

In a further sign that India will soon get moving again, Indian Railways gave some good news to tens of thousands migrant workers eager to return home. It said it would double the number of special trains for them, plus run 200 new trains across the country as of June 1.

Over 2 million people have been transported to their home states in the past 19 days on more than 1,600 trains arranged by Indian Railways.

Summing up

It will be a long road to normality, but it’s great to see the first steps towards a reopening of the transport sector in India.

As Mumbai emerges as India’s coronavirus hotspot, with more than a fifth of India’s confirmed cases of covid-19, there are doubts as to whether the country’s financial capital will be included in the plans.

How do you feel about the resumption of domestic flights?