New Delhi: As domestic flights resumed after a gap of two months, confusion reigned in many airports across India. This was because some of the states refused to accept incoming flights leading to cancellation of those. The Delhi airport reported cancellation of 82 domestic flights with angry passengers complaining they had no clue about it.
Passengers were informed that some states at the last moment had refused to be a part of flight operations. Maharashtra, the worst affected state in India, wanted more time to prepare Mumbai Airport. Later during the day, the Maharashtra government agreed to accept flights. However, it set a cap of 50 per day. This is in stark contrast to the 900-plus flights the airport handled prior to the imposition of lockdown.
Tamil Nadu and other states are also limiting flights to avoid a large influx. West Bengal has refused to start flights until Wednesday as it is recovering from the devastation of Cyclone Amphan. Many of the states alleged that cases are on the rise due to the returnees. Hence it would not be right for them to accept incoming flights.
Passengers at Terminal 3 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport here complained they had no clue about the cancellations. A similar situation was also noticed at the Chennai airport. A number of passengers complained that their tickets to Mumbai had been cancelled. “We only came to know about the cancellations only upon arrival at the airport,” said a family of three. Bangalore’s Kempegowda International Airport also reported cancellation of nine flights.
Flights to northeast
In the northeast also a similar situation prevailed. Domestic flights landed only at Guwahati and Imphal. Agartala, Dibrugarh, Silchar, Aizawl and Dimapur also reported cancellation of flights . This is because the Kolkata airport is yet to start functioning again in the aftermath of the Cyclone Amphan. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) said that the Kolkata airport may function from Wednesday.
Individual states will be responsible for arrival procedures, the Union Health Ministry had said earlier. Eleven states have made quarantine mandatory, including in some cases for two weeks. Others have specified a combination of institutional and home quarantine. However, in most cases, procedures will be subject to testing on arrival, and severity of symptoms.
Given the prospect of quarantine, it’s not clear how many passengers will want to travel by air. Getting to airports and from airports to home is also dependent on relatives as there is no public transport in many states.