On Sunday evening, Civil Aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri tweeted: “It has been a long day of hard negotiations with various state govts to recommence civil aviation operations in the country. Except Andhra Pradesh which will start on 26/5 & West Bengal on 28/5, domestic flights will recommence across the country from today.”
Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik said that, “The government has decided to permit 25 take offs and 25 landings every day for domestic flights from Mumbai. This number will be increased gradually. The government will issue details and guidelines in this regard soon,”
Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh tweeted that it was “extremely ill-advised” to reopen airports in red zones. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said he had spoken to Union Civil Aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri and requested him to give some time for preparations before resuming domestic air travel.
“Till the time MIAL (Mumbai International Airport Limited) plans and fine-tunes the airport operations, the aviation ministry should initiate minimum possible domestic flights from Maharashtra from May 25th, which are purely emergent in nature like for international transfer of passengers, medical emergencies, students, and cases on compassionate grounds,” Thackeray had said.
Resonating similar feelings, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said she would urge the Centre to postpone the resumption of domestic flight services at Kolkata, which was recently battered by Cyclone Amphan, and Bagdogra airports by a few days. After the Centre announced the resumption of services, many states had expressed reservations. Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Bihar, Punjab, Assam and Andhra Pradesh have announced their respective quarantine measures for passengers arriving at their airports.
With domestic passenger flights to resume from Monday after a hiatus of two months due to the nationwide Covid-19 lockdown, confusion prevailed on Sunday as different states imposed their own set of conditions on reopening airports. Despite being vocal against resumption of domestic flights, Maharashtra bit the bullet and allowed Mumbai airport to handle 50 domestic flights per day.