ALLOWING domestic airlines to restart operations after a two-month hiatus due to the lockdown is another sagacious step in restoring normalcy in the country. With strict protocols in place including healthcare and safety guidelines, short-haul flights can resume flying with a limit on passenger number and cap on airfares from May 25. After an initial reluctance to grant green signal, the Civil Aviation Ministry did a quick rethinking on lifting the ban on domestic flights when a reality of disturbing proportions was presented to it. Continued lockdown could have resulted in closure for at least a couple of aviation players.
The sector was not in the list of beneficiaries of a financial stimulus from the Centre. Restarting categorised operations by adhering to the SOPs was the only solution to keep them afloat. The Centre has handed the sector a major lifeline with clearance to fly and at the same time helped the passengers by dividing fares into seven bands based on flight duration. The fare cap is temporary but a tight vigil is also necessary on predatory pricing once full-scale operations resume.