At least seven flights will ferry passengers from Birsa Munda Airport in Ranchi to New Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad on Monday after a lull of two months, officials from the Ranchi Airport said on Sunday. However, the schedule was likely to undergo changes as some states are not in favour of resuming domestic flights and some airline companies have decided to delay the resumption of services, they added.
“As per the latest information received from AAI (Airport Authority of India) and private airline companies, around seven flights will ferry passengers to Hyderabad, Delhi and Bangalore on Monday,” said Airport Director Vinod Sharma. “Earlier, we were supposed to get nine flights on Monday, but two of them got cancelled,” he added.
Private airline companies Indigo, AirAsia and GoAir will resume services at the Ranchi Airport on Monday. Air India, which was scheduled to fly from Birsa Munda Airport here on Monday, has decided to resume services from June 1, sources from the Ranchi airport said. A flight to Mumbai was also scheduled for Monday, but it had to be cancelled as Maharashtra Government decided against resuming domestic flight services, they added.
“By 6.30pm on Sunday, seven flights to three cities – Delhi, Hyderabad and Bangalore – were confirmed. Further changes in the schedule may occur by tomorrow morning,” said the Airport Director. The Airport, he said, was ready with all the arrangements for maintaining social distancing and following the guidelines issued by the AAI. “We have all the equipment and manpower ready to follow the rules,” said Sharma.
The AAI, which has control over most of the airports across India and takes decisions regarding domestic air connectivity, has issued elaborate and strict guidelines in order to prevent transmission of COVID-19 virus during air travel. As per AAI's SOP, all passengers have to wear masks and gloves while traveling. Passengers above 14 years of age should also download the Government's Aarogya Setu App, and the ones who do not show a green signal in the app will not be allowed in the airport.
Besides, all passengers will have to undergo thermal screening at the airports and get trolley facility only on special demand, AAI's SOP said. All mats will be soaked in bleaching powder and all baggages will be sanitised, it added. Many airport staff will also have to wear PPE kits and the staff at restaurants and shops will have to wear masks. Besides, regular announcements about social distancing will be made in all the airports across India.
-All passenger flights to and from Ranchi have remained suspended since March 24 in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic – a preventive measure that has cost airline companies, airport authority and even third party ticket booking apps dearly, sources said.
The Birsa Munda Airport, officials said, is still on the path of expansion, and a crisis in such circumstances may show its impact on the airport's long-term development goals.
The Birsa Munda Airport is fast growing in terms of connectivity with other cities. The largest airport in Jharkhand has 30 flights connecting Ranchi to important cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Hyderabad. The airport also has an international bay, but is yet to get any international flights.