Chaos at Indian airports as country resumes domestic air travel



New Delhi – India resumed domestic flights on Monday, two months after a coronavirus lockdown was imposed, but confusion and chaos prevailed at major airports in major cities as large numbers of flights were cancelled.



Air services were suspended in late March when India went into a lockdown to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, bringing the domestic aviation sector to the brink of collapse.
More than 80 flights to and from the capital New Delhi were cancelled on Monday, airport authorities said, with irate passengers complaining of not being informed until the last minute.
Similar scenes were taking place at airports in Mumbai and Chennai, with many passengers sitting outside after their flights were cancelled, domestic news channels showed.
There was more confusion as states capped flights and announced varied quarantine and self-isolation rules for passengers to address concerns about infections being imported from other cities.
The government had devised a protocol comprising physical distancing, a no-contact check-in at the airports, thermal screening and use of a mandatory Covid-19 tracking app.
But a plan to keep the middle seat vacant on planes in accordance with physical distancing norms was dropped to cap ticket prices.
The resumption of domestic travel within India comes at a time when the country has emerged among 10 countries worst-hit by the virus, after four days of record spikes in number of coronavirus cases.
India registered 6,977 new patients in the last 24 hours, taking the total to over 138,000 cases, overtaking Iran. 4,021 deaths linked with Covid-19 have been confirmed.

Monday, May 25th 2020
(dpa)
           


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