Both IndiGo and Vistara are now taking bookings for flights departing from June 1st. The India-based carriers were forced to ground most of their planes due to strict travel restrictions in the country amid the global health crisis. However, they are anticipating an improved climate in just over a month.
Does the government approve?
LiveMint reports that the airlines’ decision to start taking bookings from June comes just a week after the civil aviation ministry slammed them. The government group is unhappy about the carriers’ premature actions.
The companies were informed not to take domestic and international bookings until further instructions as the coronavirus pandemic continued its spread. There is yet to be official confirmation about whether the firms now have the ministry’s approval to restart these bookings.
Reuters reports that Indian officials are yet to decide on when to lift or ease restrictions on domestic and international flights. The country made an early call to suspend most visas, effectively halting incoming international traffic. More travel restrictions such as domestic flight bans soon followed.
However, the central government relaxed some restrictions for businesses yesterday. Therefore, carriers may feel that the overall restrictions easing is a sign that they will soon start flying again.
Nonetheless, as it stands, Vistara and IndiGo are selling tickets for operations starting in June. Tickets are going for a reasonable rate. For example, on June 1st, a Vistara flight to Kolkata from Delhi is available for ₹3,800 (US$50), while IndiGo is charging a little less at ₹3,400 (US$45).
Understandably, India’s airlines are eager to get back in the skies. Suspensions have forced thousands of employees to have their jobs reduced or suspended over the past month.
However, the operators should ensure that they have full government approval before taking bookings. Previously, carriers were booking flights without permission, which meant they were holding money for services that might not even go ahead. In many instances, the cash wasn’t refunded as credit was given instead.
This move forced customers to be locked to an airline for flights that they might not even need. This process also made it awkward for third-party agents that paid in advance for bulk bookings but could not receive refunds for canceled services.
Ultimately, the virus outbreak is still spreading throughout India. Therefore, it could be a “wait and see” approach regarding June flights departing. Furthermore, some operators such as GoAir and SpiceJet are planning to return on May 16th. Nonetheless, passengers should contact their airlines to confirm their refund policy this period before booking.
Simple Flying reached out to both IndiGo and Vistara about their plan for resuming flights. We will update the article with any further announcements.
What are your thoughts about the two airlines planning to resume services from June 1st? Do you think that this is feasible? Let us know what you think in the comment section.