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Amid Lockdown: Government allows private jets, charter flights on domestic routes

Ministry of Civil Aviation has allowed private jets, chartered flights and helicopters on all domestic routes to operate, amid coronavirus pandemic. It has asked passengers to arrive at least 45 minutes prior to the departure for COVID-19 symptom checking.

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As airlines take to the sky again for domestic air travel, the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) also allowed domestic air services by “non-scheduled” and private (general aviation) operators.  The private operators include fixed-wing, helicopters and microlight aircraft. This allows private jets, chartered flights and helicopters to resume air travel on domestic routes, but with a new set of guidelines.

The Ministry has issued a fresh set of guidelines restricting close contact between passengers and on how soon passengers must turn up for boarding.

Passengers should report at the airport, heliport or helipad at least 45 minutes before the departure time, the ministry said in the new set of guidelines. It also advised vulnerable people including pregnant women and senior citizens to not board these flights, barring air-ambulance services.

“Vulnerable persons, such as very elderly, pregnant ladies, passengers with health issues are advised to avoid air travel. However, this will not apply to air ambulance services,” the guidelines stated.

In its guidelines, the ministry said if a passenger had manually booked his or her ticket for a chartered helicopter flight, the boarding pass will be issued at the helipad or heliport with minimum contact and after following all sanitisation protocols prescribed by local administration.

While most of the Guidelines for safety standards were same as those issued for airportsand Airlines for  domestic flights, the price cap rules were different for both.

Rules for ticket fare?

Though the ministry had issued a price cap on tickets for airlines for domestic Flights, no such cap has been imposed on chartered flights. The fares of air travel in chartered flights will be as per mutually  agreed terms between operators and the travelers.

Background:

After almost two months of remaining suspended due to nationwide Lockdown amid the Coronavirus crisis, the aviation sector of India buzzed again as Ministry of Civil Aviation allowed for Domestic Flights to ferry passengers across country. On the first day of resumption of flights, India witnessed 532 flights & 39,231 Passengers returning to Indian skies.

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