IndiGo, SpiceJet, GoAir Start Taking New Flight Bookings From May 16th Onwards; Lockdown Relaxed?
The Modi govt has until now declared to reopen the nationwide lockdown on May 3. However, reports have fled in that despite the lockdown under effect, certain private airlines like IndiGo, Spicejet, Vistara and GoAir have been allowing passenger bookings for their flights.
Now, as per these airline companies’ websites, they have started bookings for May 16 and later. The state owned Air India however, is yet to break its silence and restart the bookings for its flights to different parts of the country, giving an undue advantage to its competitors.
Let’s shed more light on the matter.
Private Airlines Flaked by Aviation Ministry
Ever since the lockdown started, it came to notice that private airlines like IndiGo, Spicejet, Vistara and GoAir did not actually bring a halt in their ticket bookings.
Despite coming into notice, the civil aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) sent a notice to them, strongly condemning for taking bookings even as restrictions on movement of people, imposed to prevent the spread of Covid-19, remained in force.
They were asked to not continue these bookings until the govt releases an official notice to allow the same.
Matters got worse and intolerable for the regulator when on April 18, Air India decided to start its booking. This was when the authorities stepped in and decided to force these airlines to stop bookings.
DGCA Deputy Director General Sunil Kumar wrote to all domestic and foreign airlines on April 19, saying that they shall be given sufficient notice and time for restarting their operations.
Private Airlines Start Booking, Starting May 16
The central government eased some restrictions for some businesses on Saturday. Now nobody is sure that what the exact reason is but we believe that due to this very move by the government, it is possible airlines took that as a signal to restart their business activities.
This is because these private airlines have reopened their bookings with departures from 16 May.
- Spicejet and GoAir have offered flights on various routes, starting from May 16.
- IndiGo and Vistara have started selling tickets from June 1.
- The airlines have also opened bookings for select foreign destinations such as Singapore and Dubai, starting June.
- A Spicejet flight from Delhi to Bengaluru is currently available at ?3,500, for May 16.
- Indigo is charging the same for the exact route for a travel on June 1.
- A Delhi-Kolkata Vistara flight on June 1 is available for ?3,800 while Indigo is charging ?3,400 for the same.
- A Delhi-Mumbai flight on 1 June is available on Vistara for ?4,400, while Go Air is charging ?2,500 for a May 16 flight on the same route.
Air India’s Progress on this
Despite its private competitors starting to get in the field again, the state-run Air India is waiting for government’s directive on selling tickets.
Many of its officials are peeved over delay in permission as it puts the state-run carrier at a significant disadvantage over private peers.
Will these Airlines Pay Back Shall the Lockdown Extend?
Airlines were strongly condemned for taking bookings even as they were not allowed to and thus locking people’s money. In many cases the money wasn’t even refunded, leading these customers and the mid agents to book later.
This had hurt agents like MakeMyTrip and EaseMyTrip too since they pay advance money for bulk bookings but had no access to the ‘wallet’ that received the refunds when customers cancelled their tickets.
However, some officials have confirmed that in case the government decided to extend the lockdown beyond May 3, refunds would be given to passengers.
Aviation is among the worst-affected sectors due to coronavirus pandemic and lockdown. SpiceJet and GoAir have cut salaries of employees in absence of cash flow.