COVID-19 Spike: Will Maharashtra Recommend Suspension Of Flights?

Domestic Delhi Airport - aviatorsbuzz
Representational picture of passengers line up at Delhi Airport. Source: DIAL

Amid fear of a second COVID-19 wave and a spike in new cases in the national capital, the Maharashtra government on Friday said it was actively considering halting flight operations and train services between cities, including Mumbai, in the state and Delhi.

Still Under Discussion  

Maharashtra Chief Secretary Sanjay Kumar said that a final decision was yet to be taken on implementing the curbs. “We have been reviewing the situation. In the wake of surge in COVID-19 cases in Delhi, we need to take precautionary measures to ensure that Maharashtra is not affected. There are limited trains and flights operating between Delhi and Mumbai and other cities in Maharashtra. The decision to either curtail them further or stop them entirely will be taken in due course,” Mr. Kumar was quoted by The Hindustan Times as saying.

Curbing Virus Spread in Maharashtra

The newspaper reported that the issue was discussed at a recent review meeting, convened by Mr. Kumar, and the state government, according to officials, is also deliberating measures to ensure the infection does not spread through people entering Maharashtra from other cities and states that have high cases.

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File photograph integrated Terminal 2 of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, Mumbai. Source: rediff.com

Difficult To Implement?

Maharashtra government officials, however, said implementing a completing ban on flights and trains between Mumbai and Delhi will be difficult. “Central government will not concede to our proposal of entirely banning flights between Mumbai and Delhi, which is the busiest route in India. Even in May, when we had tried to push the resumption of flight services [between the two cities] by a few weeks, the Centre was firm on starting it immediately. In such a scenario, we will have to go for stricter screening of passengers at airports if we are not allowed to completely stop operations,” a Maharashtra government official told HT, on condition of anonymity.

Ministry of Civil Aviation Denies Move  

However, the government called dismissed these rumours about the Maharashtra government proposal. The spokesperson for the Ministry of Civil Aviation told ET Now that they “haven’t received any such info on suspending flights between Mumbai- Delhi.”

Get Free Wi-Fi As You Await COVID-19 Results

Meanwhile, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA), Mumbai, has chosen to give free food and Wi-Fi for those arriving in the city and waiting for their RT-PCR test results.

The authorities of CSMIA stated that the RT-PCR test results take almost eight hours to come, for which each traveler pays Rs. 3,900. Eight hours is quite long; therefore, the passengers are offered food which can be ordered from a special menu made for them. Hot food and cold drinks would be continuously served on request.

Not just food, the authorities have facilitated the passengers with free unlimited Wi-Fi connectivity until their results are out.

Mumbai airport authorities had launched the RT-PCR test facility to test for COVID-19 along passengers on arrival in September. As per records, more than 8,000 individuals have taken the COVID-19 test till now, including 6910 men and 1090 ladies. CSMIA expressed that among 8000, almost 100 travelers have tested positive for the infection.

 

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Deputy Editor, AviatorsBuzz Aditya Anand in his nearly two decades of Journalism experience has tracked Aviation, Travel, and Hospitality closely and reported on it for major publications like The Hindu, Mumbai Mirror, and MIDDAY.

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