New Delhi: As the Centre gets set to restart train services from Tuesday, sources in the government have told CNN-News18 that flight operations are also likely to resume in a phased manner from May 17.
According to sources, Bureau of Civil Aviation Security and Directorate General of Civil Aviation on Monday visited airports to oversee final preparations of commercial flights.
In first leg, 25 per cent of sectors will be covered, a source said, adding that a proposal has also come up to not provide flight catering where the distance is less than two hours.
Also, flyers may have to compulsorily download the government's Aarogya Setu app, developed to track Covid-19 patients. However, it is said that the same app would be voluntary for train passengers, keeping in mind the general and second class travelers who may not have smartphones.
Sources said that airlines are on standby and prepared to resume domestic flight operation as soon as a green signal is given. The airlines are likely to begins operations from major routes like Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru, which are commercially more viable as compared to only shorter distance flights that would be restricted to green zones, which are mostly tier II and tier III cities.
Sources added that an announcement could be made anytime after May 17. They said that PM Modi's meeting with chief ministers on Monday could also have discussions on air travel.
The DGCA on March 19 had announced that no international commercial passenger flight operations will take place in India from 1.30 am on March 23, while domestic flight operations were ceased from March 24.
The decision to resume flight operation comes a day after Indian Railways said that it will gradually restart passenger train operations from May 12, initially with 15 pairs of trains.
These trains will be run as special trains from New Delhi station connecting Dibrugarh, Agartala, Howrah, Patna, Bilaspur, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar, Secunderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram, Madgaon, Mumbai Central, Ahmedabad and Jammu Tawi.
After the resumption of these 15 services, railways will start more special services on new routes, based on the available coaches after reserving 20,000 coaches for Covid-19 care centres and adequate number of coaches being reserved to enable operation of up to 300 trains everyday as "Shramik Special" for stranded migrants.
Ticket booking counters at railway stations will remain closed and no counter tickets (including platform tickets) will be issued, it said.
Only passengers with valid confirmed tickets will be allowed to enter railway stations. It will be mandatory for passengers to wear face cover and undergo screening at departure and only asymptomatic passengers will be allowed to board the trains.