As domestic flights resumed at several airports across India this morning after two months, there was confusion and chaos at the airports in Delhi, Mumbai and other cites as a large number of flights were cancelled and passengers complained that they did not get any notification from the airlines.
82 flights to and from Delhi have been cancelled, with angry passengers at Terminal 3 of Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport claiming that they were not informed till the last minute.
Similar scenes were witnessed at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai, with several passengers seen sitting outside the airport after their flights were cancelled.
While a flight to Pune was the first to take off from Delhi at 4:45 AM, a Patna-bound flight was the first to take off from Mumbai at 6:45 AM.
The Mumbai airport, the country’s second busiest airport, will handle 50 flights daily – 25 incoming and 25 outgoing.
“We were going to Delhi. We were told when we arrived here that the flight has been cancelled. One of the customer care employees told us that there is a flight that runs tonight and that may be, we have been rescheduled.
Her flight was scheduled for 11:05 am. Since passengers can only do web check-ins, her airline could not confirm is she could take the next flight to Delhi, she said.
Long queues were seen outside the departure terminal in Mumbai, with passengers taking longer than usual to enter the airport as security personnel had to do thermal screening as well as check if each passenger had downloaded the Aatogya Setu app on their mobile phone.
Maharashtra, which was among the states that sought time to re-start flights in view of its huge number of coronavirus cases – the highest in the country – said at the last minute that it would operate 25 flight take-offs from Mumbai and 25 landings in the city. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray earlier said the state would need more time to prepare for flight operations.
At Chennai airport too, there were disappointed passengers who said their tickets have been cancelled. “From March 15, we were stuck here in Tamil Nadu due to the lockdown. We booked three tickets for Mumbai last night but while reaching here, our flight tickets were cancelled and there is no one to answer us at the help desk. We don’t know what to do now,” Viswanathan, a passenger, was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Nine flights were cancelled at Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport.
The centre announced last Thursday that one-third of pre-lockdown domestic flights will operate from today. All international scheduled commercial passenger flights remain suspended. Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri has indicated that international flights could begin in June.