Press Trust of india

Limits on air fares set in seven bands as per flight durations: Puri

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New Delhi: Limits on air fares for flights resuming operations on Monday have been set in seven bands as per the journey durations and they would be in place till August 24, said Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Thursday.

The minister said each band would have its specific lower and upper limits of air fare, 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, he said while addressing a press conference.

However, 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.

Aviation Secretary P S Kharola, who was also present at the press conference, said 40 per cent of the seats would have to be sold at the mid-point of the lower and upper air fare limits set for the flights.

The Aviation Minister said he can’t comment right now on when flight operations would be restored completely.

“We gained some experience from Vande Bharat mission. Now we are opening 1/3rd of our domestic civil aviation operations. Whatever experience we gain now, on that basis we would then go to open international travel,” he said.

If a passenger does not have the Aarogya Setu app on her or his phone for some reason, she or he can give a self-declaration form, the minister said, adding that such a passenger will not be stopped from boarding the flight.

The minister added that private carriers will join the Vande Bharat mission to repatriate Indians stranded abroad amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Puri said by the end of the month, total 50,000 Indians would be brought back from abroad under the mission.

The Vande Bharat mission began on May 7. Till date, only Air India and its subsidiary Air India Express have been operating flights under this mission.

Domestic flight operations will resume in India from May 25. All commercial passenger flights were suspended in the country from March 25, when the Modi government imposed a lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus.

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