No resumption of passenger flight operation in Maharashtra now: Uddhav Thackeray
Mumbai/IBNS: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday cleared that his state can't afford to have the resumption of passenger flight operation from May 25 considering the surge in Covid-19 cases in the western state of India, media reports said.
Thackeray also said the anti-Covid lockdown in the state can't be lifted by May 31, the last day of lockdown 4.0.
"I spoke to the Aviation minister (Hardeep Singh Puri). I understand the need for opening up air travel, but we need more time to prepare," the CM said.
But special flights will continue to operate in Maharashtra which has reported 47,190 of India's total 1,31,868 Covid cases.
Thackeray's words came a day after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee requested the central government for not resuming the flight operations at least at Kolkata Airport considering the devastation caused by Cyclone Amphan in the southern part of the state.
Airlines will resume one-third of domestic flights from Monday and will gradually scale up the operations after being halted for about two months due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Saturday hinted the international passenger flight operation might resume before August.
"Why wait till August or September? If situation eases or improves, if virus behaves in predictable manner and we get used to co-exist(ing) with it, we're in position to make arrangements. Why not start by June middle or end July?" Puri said.
The minister also said the government was working towards restarting "good percentage" of passenger flights which was grounded for more than two months due to the anti-Covid lockdown.
India, the country of 1.3 billion people, has been under lockdown since Mar 24 midnight to stem the spread of the pandemic virus which is yet to have a cure or vaccine.
The lockdown was extended thrice and now the restrictions are due to expire on Jun 1.
(Top image Credit: Uddhav Thackeray Twitter)