Reacting to news reports of resumption of passenger flights in a staggered manner from 15 April, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri called them "mere speculation".
"News about resumption of passenger flights in a staggered manner from 15 April is mere speculation. The correct position is spelt out in my tweet of 2nd April 2020," Puri tweeted on Sunday.
News about resumption of passenger flights in a staggered manner from 15 April is mere speculation.— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) April 5, 2020
The correct position is spelt out in my tweet of 2nd April 2020.@PTI_News @PIB_India @MoCA_GoI @DGCAIndia @AAI_Official pic.twitter.com/XRxfeDKHBV
In his tweet on 2 April, Puri said "The current Lockdown on domestic & international passenger flights is till 15 April. A decision to restart the flights after this period remains to be taken. If required, we will assess the situation on a case by case basis."
His reaction comes after a PTI report citing official sources said that the government may consider allowing flight operations in a staggered manner after the 21-day nationwide lockdown ends.
India suspended domestic and international commercial passenger flight operations from 25 March for 21 days in sync with the nation-wide lockdown.
However, cargo flights, medical evacuation flights, offshore helicopter operations and flights permitted on the special ground by the aviation regulator DGCA were allowed to operate during the period.
All major airlines have been allowed to take bookings to post the lockdown period. As of now, all domestic airlines, except Air India, have been taking bookings for commercial passenger services from 15 April.
Strict restrictions on flight operations taken by many countries to curb the spread of COVID-19 have hit the civil aviation sector hard, even in India where Air Deccan became the latest casualty of the crisis. The regional commuter airline indefinitely ceased all flight operations on Sunday and asked all employees to go on sabbatical without pay.