The government is expected to allow domestic and international flight operations in India to be staggered after the 21-day blackout period, which is expected to end on April 14, officials said today.
The aviation sector has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Air Deccan became the youngest victim of the crisis today when it announced that flight operations would cease indefinitely and urged all employees to spend a Sabbath year without pay.
“As the virus is still spreading in India, we are considering staging domestic and international flight operations after April 14th. Airlines can accept bookings for any appointment after April 14th,” said one senior ministry official for civil aviation.
“However, if the suspension is extended after April 14, airlines will have to cancel tickets booked for that period,” the official said.
All major airlines except Air India accept domestic bookings for dates after April 14th. Air India only accepts bookings for dates after April 30th.
Since all employees were sent into a Sabbath year without payment, Air Deccan does not accept bookings and it is not clear when operations will resume.
With earnings down significantly, IndiGo has announced an up to 25 percent wage cut for its executives, and Vistara announced a mandatory three-day vacation without pay for its executives in March.
SpiceJet has said its employees’ salaries will be cut by 10 to 30 percent, and Air India has announced a 10 percent cut in bonuses for every employee except cabin crew over the next three months.
GoAir has cut its employees’ salaries, fired its expat pilots and introduced unpaid leave for employees on a rotating basis.
India has imposed a 21-day ban since March 25 to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, all domestic and international commercial passenger flights have been suspended for this period.
Freight flights, offshore helicopter flights, medical evacuation flights and special flights approved by the General Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGCA) of the Indian Aviation Authority may be carried out during this ban.