Chennai: A Delhi-bound Indigo Airlines with 116 passengers was the first flight to be operated from the airport here today when the country resumed domestic air services, officials said.
It left for the national capital at 6.40 am while a flight from Delhi operated by the same carrier was the first incoming one, albeit with a far lesser number of passengers, at 27.
A total of 16 flights were scheduled to arrive in the city through the day, according to the Centre’s decision as Tamilnadu government had demanded for capping such services to 25 per day, while 19 outbound services were scheduled from the city, they said. The cities covered by arrival and departure flights include Delhi, Mumbai, Coimbatore, Madurai and Port Blair.
All health protocols, including thermal screening of the passengers, were being followed by officials for both the arriving as well as departing air passengers.
Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had last week announced resumption of domestic flight services from Monday onwards in a calibrated manner.
On Sunday, he had said the Chennai airport will have a maximum of 25 arrivals but that there was no cap on departing flights. For other airports in Tamilnadu flights will operate as in other parts of the country, he had said.
On Sunday night, while apprising the Centre that incoming domestic flights to this city can be restricted to 25 per day, the Tamilnadu government had notified guidelines, which includes 14 days home quarantine and an e-pass for
“Flights to Coimbatore, Madurai and Tiruchirappalli (the three other airports in the state) can be operated,’ Chief Secretary K Shanmugam had told the Centre in a letter. Due to high number of virus cases, flights from Gujarat and Maharashtra may be kept at the barest minimum level and ‘there is no issue for operating any number of outgoing flights from Tamilnadu,” Shanmugam had said.
The Standard Operating Procedure (SoP), which has separate norms for incoming and outgoing passengers and procedures to be followed at the airport, said asymptomatic people shall undergo home quarantine for 14 days.
It said if air journey was undertaken without meeting the eligibility criteria they would be liable for penal action.