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COVID-19 lockdown: Aviation regulator asks airlines to shut bookings until decision on air travel is made

Civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri and aviation regulator DGCA yesterday directed airlines to stop accepting bookings for travel starting May 4, the day after the nationwide lockdown comes to an end. The DGCA — Directorate General for Civil Aviation — clarified that the government has not made a decision on whether domestic or international flights will be allowed to resume on May 4. Flight restrictions will be lifted once “we are confident that the spread of the virus has been controlled & it poses no danger to our country & people”, Puri said. Airlines will be given sufficient notice and time for restarting operations, the regulator said.

All domestic flights are suspended till midnight of May 3, and all international flights till the evening of May 3. Puri had said that the government can “consider” lifting restrictions on both domestic and international flights after the lockdown ends on May 3.

The move will hit the plans of online travel aggregators such as MakeMyTrip, Ebix-owned Yatra, Ixigo, Cleartrip, etc. For instance, air ticketing made up 33% of MakeMyTrip’s revenue in the last quarter, and hotels & packages — a segment dependent on people flying in and out — accounted for almost 50% of the revenue. Indigo has closed all bookings till May 31.

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    © 2008-2018 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ