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No intention of curtailing flight services amid COVID spike: Hardeep Singh Puri

"If we had not seen the virus raising its ugly head again, I would have opened up domestic civil aviation 100 per cent by April 1 in the summer schedule... The total revival of the sector in terms of domestic aviation, opening up, has been delayed by 15-20 days," the minister said.

No intention of curtailing flight services amid COVID spike: Hardeep Singh Puri-dnm
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New Delhi, First Published Mar 27, 2021, 4:47 PM IST
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Amid fears of fresh curbs in view of the surge in novel coronavirus cases in the country, the Aviation Minister assured domestic flight services, which are currently operating at 80%, will not be curtailed owing to a second wave of the virus.

Speaking to the reporters, Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said, "Domestic flights were halted in March, 2020 and resumed on 25 May. We've been further reopening it. The only intention was to open it 100% when the summer schedule begins from 1 April."

"If we had not seen the virus raising its ugly head again, I would have opened up domestic civil aviation 100 per cent by April 1 in the summer schedule... The total revival of the sector in terms of domestic aviation, opening up, has been delayed by 15-20 days," the minister said.

The civil aviation minister's statement comes in the backdrop of India registering a record 62,258 daily cases of the coronavirus disease on Saturday, taking the country’s infection tally past 11.9 million. The country's death toll went up to 161,240 with 291 fatalities.

Puri further announced that Air India will be completely disinvested and added that the choice is only between disinvestment or closing down the airline company.

“We’ve decided that Air India will be 100% disinvested. Choice isn’t between disinvestment and non-disinvestment, it’s between disinvestment and closing down. Air India is a first-rate asset but has an accumulated debt of Rs 60,000 Crore. We need to draw the slate clean” Hardeep Singh Puri said.

Commenting on the privatisation of Air India, he said the process is likely to be completed by May-end. "At a meeting on Monday, it was decided that the government will close the financial bids within 64 days," he told ANI, adding that there were multiple bidders and some have been shortlisted.

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