Updated at 10:40 p.m. on April 18, 2020
Following the announcement of Air India reopening bookings for domestic and international flights, the ministry of Civil Aviation has issued a statement, advising all airlines to hold off on plans to start taking bookings until an official statement is issued in this regard.
"The Ministry of Civil Aviation clarifies that so far no decision has been taken to open domestic or international operations. Airlines are advised to open their bookings only after a decision in this regard is taken by the Government," the civil aviation ministry said in a tweet.
Besides Air India, IndiGo had also revealed that it will resume flight operations from May 4 in a phased manner.
"Complementing the government's efforts against COVID-19, we will restart flight operations on vital corridors of air traffic from May 04, 2020. We will begin operations for domestic only and then gradually ramp it up further, to commence operations on some international routes as well," Ronojoy Dutta, Chief Executive Officer, IndiGo had said.
With the latest announcement from the Ministry of Civil Aviation, all plans to resume flight operations won't get a green signal unless the government issues another statement.
Air India has opened its bookings for selected domestic flights from May 4 onwards and for international flights from June 1.
All flight services have been put under halt since the commencement of the national lockdown. On 3 April, Air India had said it has stopped bookings, both domestic and international, till the end of the month.
Air India opens its booking services
In a notification on its website, Air India said, " In the light of the ongoing global health concerns, we have currently stopped accepting booking on all domestic flights for travel till 03rd May 2020 and on all international flights for travel till 31st May 2020".
The selected domestic routes of the national carrier include important metro cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, and Bengaluru.
The authorities also said that the situation is being constantly reviewed; the customers shall be updated regularly.
PM Modi earlier announced a complete lockdown in the country starting March 25, and all flights were stopped from flying till April 14, the end day of lockdown. However, the lockdown was further extended till May 3 and hence ban on flying was extended till May 3.
During the suspension of commercial flights, Air India has been doing yeoman service in wake of Covid-19 crisis by rescuing stranded Indian citizens from abroad and transporting essential agricultural and medical commodities to the world market.