By Aditi Shah
NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Airlines should stick to ticket price guidelines issued by India’s civil aviation ministry when they restart some domestic flights, two months after air travel was halted to fight the novel coronavirus, the ministry said on Thursday.
Airlines should adhere to the lower and upper limits of fares set by the ministry, it said in a notice, but it did not give details on the amounts.
Airlines will be allowed to resume about a third of their operations from Monday, within rules that include no meals on board, temperature checks for all passengers and full protective gear for crew, the ministry said.
The gradual opening up of air travel comes as India’s cases of coronavirus hit 112,359, according to the health ministry, increasing 5,609 over the previous day – one of the highest single-day rises in recent weeks. Deaths stood at 3,435.
The infections are largely concentrated in the big cities of Mumbai, Delhi and Ahmedabad that are also the economy’s engines and transport hubs.
Airlines including IndiGo <INGL.NS>, the country’s largest carrier by market share, its rival SpiceJet Ltd <SPJT.NS>, full-service carrier Vistara, a joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines <SIAL.SI> and state-run Air India were forced to ground planes from March 25.
The civil aviation ministry also said passengers who are not allowed to travel due to their health or age should be allowed to change their date of travel without a penalty.
All passengers must register on a government coronavirus tracing application, if their mobile device is compatible, or submit a declaration form saying they are fit to travel, have not been quarantined and do no live in a containment or so-called virus red zone.
“Passengers with ‘Red’ status on the Aarogya Setu app would not be permitted to travel,” the ministry said.
Passengers who violate travel rules would be liable to legal action, it said.
(Reporting by Aditi Shah and Sankalp Phartiyal in New Delhi; additional reporting by Chandini Monnappa in Bengaluru; Editing by Tom Hogue, Robert Birsel)