Ticket pricing restrictions, protective suits and goggles for flight attendants and no food served on board planes are among the rules proposed by the civil aviation ministry as the country prepares to resume domestic flying within days.
After a two-month coronavirus shutdown, India's airlines will be allowed to resume flights with about a third of operations from May 25, but on domestic routes only and with rules that are among the strictest in the world.
The gradual opening up of air travel comes as the number of recorded cases of the novel coronavirus in India surged past a lakh. The have been nearly 3,000 deaths.
Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said the decision to regulate fares based on the flight's duration was to prevent ticket prices from spiking as there is pent-up demand.
For instance, for a two-hour flight between the cities of Mumbai and Delhi airlines will be allowed to charge a minimum fare of Rs 3,500 and a maximum of Rs 10,000, while ensuring that 40 per cent of the tickets sold are priced below the median value. The government has come out with price bands and the first such band will consist of flights that are of less than 40 minutes duration.The subsequent bands from the second to the seventh would be of flights with durations of 40-60 minutes, 60-90 minutes, 90-120 minutes, 120-150 minutes, 150-180 minutes and 180-210 minutes respectively. Puri did not mention what would be the upper limit and lower limit fares for each of the aforementioned bands and when would airlines be able to open their bookings for domestic flights.
Fares as instructed by the ministry:
• Delhi-Kochi : Rs 5,500 (min) - Rs 15,700 (max)
• Delhi-Thiruvananthapuram : Rs 6,500 (min) - Rs 18,600 (max)
• Kochi-Bengaluru : Rs 2,000 (min) - Rs 6,000 (max)
• Kochi-Pune : Rs 3,500 (min) - Rs 10,000 (max)
• Thiruvananthapuram-Bengaluru : Rs 3,500 (min) - Rs 10,000 (max)
Airlines are allowed to sell all seats on board.
Passengers must also register on a government coronavirus tracing application, if they can, or submit a declaration saying they are fit to travel. Airlines including IndiGo, the country's largest carrier, SpiceJet Ltd, Vistara, a Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines alliance, and state-run Air India were forced to ground planes from March 25.
Guidelines for travel
• Before entering the terminal, passenger to ensure that he or she is wearing a mask
• Passenger to report at the airport 2 hours before flights
• Passenger to travel in an authorized taxi/personal vehicle following the norms specified by the Home Ministry
• During transit to airport, the passenger should take all precautions to prevent infection
• Passenger to certify the status of history of his or her health through the Aarogya Setu App or a self-declaration form
• Ensure web check-in and obtain a boarding pass