The cancellation of 74 flights without prior notice marred the resumption of domestic air travel after two months of lockdown at Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport on Monday.
“As on 17:00 hrs (5 pm) on May 25, 2020, the airport registered a total of 74 Air Traffic Movements, including 43 departures and 31 arrivals,” Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL), that operates the city airport, said in a release.
A total of 74 flights were cancelled for the day, it said, adding that the airport would continue to operate as per flight schedules.
The first flight out was an Air Asia aircraft to Ranchi that departed at around 5:15 am, while the first arrival was an Indigo flight from Chennai at about 7:35 am with around 113 passengers.
Restrictions on the number of flights by states, some of them mandating institutional quarantine, led to cancellation of several arrivals and outbound flights, officials said.
“With states like Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal deferring resumption of domestic flights and others like Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu restricting flight movements to Mumbai and Chennai, airlines had to revise their schedules, which resulted in cancellation of flights,” said a state nodal official, tasked to monitor the movement of passengers.
Some passengers claimed that flights were cancelled at the last moment, like the Bengaluru-Hyderabad flight. There were also reports of cancellation of flights from Sambra airport in Belagavi and Mangaluru airport.
Among the passengers who arrived in the city’s airport on Monday was five-year-old Vihaan Sharma, who travelled alone from Delhi. His mother was seen anxiously waiting at the airport to meet him after three months.
As per the state government’s standard operating procedure (SOP), passengers who arrived from high COVID-19 prevalence states were shifted to hotels for seven days of institutional quarantine by Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) buses, specially arranged for the purpose.
“BIAL will continue to work closely with various government departments to ensure that air passengers adhere to the new quarantine policy,” the release said.
The Karnataka government has said people coming from high COVID-19 prevalence states–Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh—will have to go for institutional quarantine for seven days, and the charges will have to be borne by the passengers.