Indian national airline Air India has closed its booking window till 30th April for both domestic and international flights. The airline will evaluate further once the nationwide lockdown ends, which is scheduled for 14th April. Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola (1) last week said that airlines can take bookings for flights for any date after 14th April.
Airlines suffer massive losses due to the nationwide lockdown
India suspended all international flights on 23rd March for the foreseeable future and all domestic flights on 25th March. The decision was made to stop the spread of COVID 19 in the country. The suspension of flights has caused airlines to suffer massive losses as several airlines announced allowance cut for pilots and other staff. Air India’s pilot unions on Friday opposed the 10% allowance cut, saying that it goes against the spirit of Prime Minister’s appeal to not cut employee’s salaries in the time of a global pandemic.
Air India will assess the situation once lockdown ends
The national carrier revealed that they would assess the situation once the lockdown ends, which is scheduled for 14th April. The airline is awaiting a decision post 14th April to see how the situation unravels in India and then will decide whether they will open the booking window for domestic or international flights.
Civil Aviation Secretary had earlier said that if the lockdown period ends on 14th April, then the bookings made now can be honored. If it does not, then, airlines can implement the same measures as they did for the bookings made before the lockdown. Airlines, including Air India, did not refund the money to consumers for the bookings made for the lockdown period. Instead, they gave them credit points that can be used for booking flights in the future. Currently, coronavirus cases in India are increasing as 62 people have lost their lives, and over 2,500 have been found positive for COVID 19.