India flights to remain suspended during Covid-19 lock-down
Dubai - Indian envoy to UAE clarifies amid speculation that Emirates might resume passenger flights.
Pavan Kapoor, Indian ambassador to the UAE, said on Friday he did not expect international flights to resume operations to India as the country's airports remain closed to both domestic and foreign passengers during the 21-day lock-down period.
India has suspended the entry of commercial international flights into the country effective from March 22, two days before the country announced a nation-wide lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
India also suspended all domestic flights at a later stage.
Kapoor's clarification came amid speculation that Emirates airline might resume passenger operation to Indian airports.
"I can categorically state that Indian airports remain closed to all international passenger flights, while allowing only the operation of cargo flights."
However, Wam quoted Hardeep Singh Puri, India's minister for Civil Aviation, as saying that India may look to resume flights with the UAE once its 21-day lockdown ends on April 14.
"Any incoming flights to bring Indians back home will have to await the lifting of the lockdown," Puri said on Thursday.
"The lockdown is till April 15, and we can start considering the resumption of flights on a case-by-case basis depending on where they are coming from after that," he said.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday that the lockdown will end in phases.
"Unless the lockdown is extended, the Ministry of Health will decide which all countries are safe enough to allow people to fly from into India starting April 15," the news agency quoted Indian Civil Aviation secretary PS Kharola as saying.