The home ministry on Wednesday dropped domestic air travel from the list of prohibited activities during the ongoing lockdown, paving the way for operations of regular commercial flights.
Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla issued the order in this effect in his capacity as chairperson of the national executive committee under the National Disaster Management Act.
All scheduled commercial passenger flights have been suspended in India since March 25, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed the lockdown to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
"I hereby order the following amendment in the guidelines on lockdown measures, for strict implementation by ministries, departments of Government of India, state, Union territory governments and state/ Union territory authorities. Amendment: In para 2 (i), 'domestic air travel of passengers' is deleted from the list of prohibited activities," the order issued by Bhalla said.
It also said the detailed guidelines for operation of airports and air travel of passengers will be issued by the civil aviation ministry.
The lockdown was first announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 24 for 21 days to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was first extended till May 3 and again till May 17. The lockdown was further extended till May 31.
Earlier on Wednesday, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had said domestic passenger flight services will resume from May 25 in a calibrated manner.
The minister, however, did not say as to when international passenger flights would resume.
"Domestic civil aviation operations will recommence in a calibrated manner from Monday, May 25, 2020. All airports and air carriers are being informed to be ready for operations from 25th May," Puri said on Twitter.
"SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) for passenger movement are also being separately issued by the Ministry of Civil Aviation," he added.
Photograph: Max Rossi/Reuters.