- Air India has shut down its booking window for all domestic and foreign routes until April 30 and is awaiting a decision after April 14.
National carrier Air India has shut down its booking window for all domestic and foreign routes until April 30 and is awaiting a decision after April 14, when the nationwide lockdown is due to end.
“We are awaiting a post 14 April decision,” the spokesman for the airline said, PTI said.
Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola on Thursday said airlines are free to take ticket reservations after 14 April for any date. The nationwide 21-day lockdown started on March 25.
Meanwhile, on Friday, Air India’s pilot unions opposed the 10% reduction in employee pay, calling the decision “unfair” and contradictory to the spirit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal to companies to ensure that employee wages are not slashed in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
Air India pilots wrote to Air India’s CMD saying, “By making a cut on allowances alone, directors & mgmt executives have deviously exempted themselves from any substantial cut in austerity as their allowances are extremely high.
India has announced a nationwide 21-day lockdown to prevent COVID-19 transmission in the culture. Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on April 2 that the ministry was working on understanding what needs to be done in case the lockdown ends in mid-April but stressed that a contingency plan should be in place for airlines.
“Airlines take reservations. If the lockdown time ends on April 14, then the reservations made can be honored. If not, then airlines should take the same steps as they did for reservations already made before April 14,” Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola said on April 2.
When the government decided to ban all domestic flights from March 25, airlines could not refund the full amount of bookings already made by passengers, so they began providing credit points equal to the booking rate that passengers could use to book tickets for a later date.
Air India has introduced similar steps regarding canceled bookings and provided credit points to passengers for subsequent use. The shutdown and downturn in demand due to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic has badly impacted airlines ‘financials and most carriers have resorted to giving workers leave without pay and/or salary cuts to get through this tough period.
The national carrier is one of the most heavily hit airlines since it used to receive significant amounts of its revenue from international operations that have been suspended since March 23.
Air India is the largest international carrier operating long-haul, non-stop flights in the world.
Previously the Ministry of Aviation had said it would decide on a case-by-case basis to resume international and domestic flights. The best prevention strategy to combat the spread of the virus appears to be psychological distancing.