India Halts All Domestic Passenger Flying

 - March 24, 2020, 10:27 AM

This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.

India has ordered the suspension of all domestic passenger operations—scheduled and private—by midnight on Tuesday, March 24, due to the spread of the Covid-19 virus. The order, which covers a seven-day period ending at midnight on March 31, does not apply to cargo carriers or government aircraft, and airports will remain open to accommodate such operations. 

India had already closed its borders to international flights on March 22 to help stem cross-border spread. However, some states in the country called on the federal government to ban domestic flying as health experts prepared for a big jump in the number of cases.

Authorities have also suspended rail travel, which has created particular hardship among a population that relies heavily on trains to maintain connectivity.

As virtually all forms of mass transit have closed, passengers and crewmembers had already faced difficulty getting to the country’s airports.

The move by India follows closely behind a near-total shutdown in the UAE, where Emirates Airline and Etihad Airways have suspended virtually all flying other than for repatriation of customers amid a directive from the government calling for a 14-day suspension of all inbound, outbound, and transit passenger flights in the country.