To provide relief to airlines, which have been non-operational since March and reopen a key part of the economy, the government is likely to allow airline companies to resume operations of some domestic flights on May 18 or earlier, informed people aware of the matter.

On conditions of anonymity, they further informed that the Ministry of Civil Aviation is in talks with airlines, travel agents and the federal home ministry about the move. And, a decision may come on Monday, adding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is meeting with state chief ministers this afternoon.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has hinted to begin the operation of commercial domestic flights also in a graded manner. But airline operators have been asked not to start booking of tickets even as demands soar from people stranded in various cities.

Earlier this month, there were reports about airports getting ready for operations post lockdown. A senior official of Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL) had informed that after the lockdown is lifted, commercial passenger flights at Delhi airport will initially operate from Terminal 3.

As and when airlines resume operations, stringent security measures will be in place during check-in, baggage screening as well as inside the aircraft. DIAL stated that entry gates, self-check-in machines and check-in bays would be allocated to airlines to ensure smooth flow of passengers from the forecourt into check-in hall and security thereafter.

The international flights will take longer to resume operations as the issues of logistics, security, safety as well as health are bigger and more sensitive there.

Although airlines in India have slashed salaries and furloughed staff as they try to weather the pandemic and its devastating impact on travel, India has been amongst the best-performing countries in the world in combating COVID-19.

India is one of the world’s fastest-growing aviation markets and home to some of the biggest Airbus SE and Boeing Co customers, including InterGlobe Aviation Ltd’s IndiGo and SpiceJet Ltd.