Some Indian low-cost carriers have outlined post-lockdown operation plans after the country’s civil aviation authority extended a ban on flights in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The country’s civil aviation authority said on 14 April that all domestic and international scheduled airline operations will remain suspended until 3 May, 23:59. It added that the restriction does not apply to international all-cargo operations and “flights specifically approved” by the authority.
IndiGo, which has a fleet of 262 aircraft, says it will resume operations from 4 May “in a phased manner”.
“Initially starting with a slightly curtailed capacity, the airline will increase the operating capacity over the subsequent months, also re-opening selected international flights, depending on the existing international travel guidelines,” says the carrier.
Its chief executive Ronojoy Dutta adds: “Our singular focus will be on ensuring the health of our customers and our employees. We are working closely with the government and the airports to take our aircraft and our airports to a significantly higher level of cleanliness while ensuring social distancing. The airline industry has always done a tremendous job in ensuring the safety of its customers and I am confident we will rise to this latest challenge as well”.
IndiGo customers affected by cancellations will have their booking amount protected in the form of a credit under the passenger name record details. This credit can then be used to make bookings for the same customer or customers on IndiGo, and is valid for one year from the date of issuance.
GoAir, a considerably smaller carrier than IndiGo with 56 aircraft, says it has suspended all flights until 3 May.
Its customers are eligible to reschedule their flights until 3 May 2021.
The airline goes on to state that it will continue to carry out “enhanced cleaning procedures”, including using hospital-grade disinfectant for deep cleaning the aircraft.
“Each GoAir aircraft is equipped with a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter, which filters out recirculated air on-board each plane to remove airborne particles. HEPA filters are also used in hospitals to provide patients with clean air wherein they extract more than 99.999% of even the tiniest viruses, including COVID-19. Also at airports, we have been regularly disinfecting the check-in kiosks, gate areas, check-in counters and ticketing counters,” it says.
AirAsia India, which has 30 aircraft, said on its Twitter account that guests booked on flights until 3 May can reschedule their flights to a later date before 31 October 2020, for the same route any time up to 48 hours before departure without any costs.
SpiceJet, which has 113 aircraft, has also suspended operations until 3 May. The airline declined to comment on its post-lockdown plans, saying “[w]e will update as and when we have something to share”.