Govt orders airlines to restrict in-flight meals amid Covid-19 spike

Govt orders airlines to restrict in-flight meals amid Covid-19 spike

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As novel coronavirus cases surge in the country to breach record highs in single-day tallies for the past few days, the Aviation Ministry on Monday banned in-flight meals on flights having a duration of fewer than 2 hours.

The amended norms to come into effect from April 15, the fresh order stated. For flights longer than 2 hours, the servicing of meals will be staggered among adjacent seats, it added.

The development comes after India reported close to 1.70 lakh Covid-19 cases on Monday, its highest single-day tally since the outbreak of the pandemic. With this, India has surpassed Brazil to record the second-highest number of virus cases.

As many as 1,68,912 more people tested positive for Covid-19 across the country in the last 24 hours, taking the cumulative caseload to 1,35,27,717, said the Union health ministry on Monday morning.

Recently, Aviation regulator DGCA had approved 18,843 flights per week from 108 airports for the summer schedule, which begins on the last Sunday of March and ends on the last Sunday of October.

The number of flights for this year’s summer schedule has been approved keeping in mind that airlines are permitted to operate not more than 80 percent of their pre-COVID flights.

It said IndiGo’s 8,749 weekly flights and SpiceJet’s 2,854 have been approved for the summer schedule. GoAir’s 1,747 flights, Air India’s 1,683, Vistara’s 1,288, and AirAsia India’s 1,243 have also been approved.

India resumed domestic passenger flight operations on May 25 last year, after a gap of two months due to the coronavirus-triggered lockdown. At that time, airlines were permitted to operate a maximum of 33 percent of their pre-COVID flights. This was gradually increased to 80 percent.

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