A total of 16 asymptomatic passengers on seven different flights including 13 of them who travelled by IndiGo have tested positive for COVID-19 since the resumption of domestic air services on Monday, according to airlines data.
Two of the three asymptomatic passengers who tested positive for the infection had travelled by Spicejet while one took a flight of Air India subsidiary Alliance Air.
The Karnataka government, meanwhile, said on Thursday it has requested the Civil Aviation ministry to reduce the number of flights originating from five states--Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan--in the light of the high number of COVID-19 cases there, hours after a minister said it has 'suspended' air travel from these states.
Seeking to clarify his statement, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister J C Madhuswamy maintained that Karnataka has not sought imposing a ban on flights from the five states as reported in some sections of the media.
Karnataka has appealed to the Civil Aviation ministry to take steps to lessen the air traffic to the state, with the 'sacred intention' that there may not be adequate quarantine facilities, if there is a huge turnout in a short span of time, he said in a press release issued by the state information department.
Earlier, Madhuswamy told reporters in Bengaluru that the decision to stop flights from these states, which have a high number of coronavirus cases, for the time being was taken at a cabinet meeting.
"People are coming from other states to Karnataka.... we have decided to suspend air traffic from five states, as cases here (Karnataka) may further increase," he said.
As many as 115 new coronavirus cases were reported in Karnataka on Thursday taking the infection count to 2,533, state minister S Suresh said.
The minister said among the new cases, 95 are inter-state rail and bus passengers.
West Bengal, which allowed resumption of domestic air services only from Thursday, and Maharashtra are among the states where airlines are having only limited operations following their requests to the Centre in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Air carriers in the country have operated over 1,500 flights carrying over one lakh passengers during the first four days of operations after domestic services were resumed after a two month gap.
Air services were suspended after the national lockdown came into force on March 25.
"The operating crew has been home quarantined for 14 days and we are in the process of notifying other passengers as per the government guidelines, to ensure safety of our passengers and staff," according to a statement by IndiGo which gave details on the positive COVID-19 cases.
Three passengers who travelled on Delhi-Jammu flight on Tuesday, six passengers on Bengaluru-Coimbatore flight, two passengers on Delhi-Coimbatore flight and one passenger on Bengaluru-Madurai flight, all on Wednesday, tested positive for coronavirus, the airline said.
On Tuesday, IndiGo had said that a passenger who travelled from Chennai to Coimbatore on Monday evening tested positive for COVID-19.
The passenger was the first to have tested positive after the resumption of domestic flights.
All the passengers who tested positive had observed all precautionary measures, including wearing face mask, face shield and gloves, like other travellers on the aircraft, it said.
"All our aircraft are regularly sanitized as a standard operating procedure, and the aircraft operating these flights were immediately disinfected as per protocol," the airline added.
SpiceJet said on Wednesday that two of its passengers who travelled from Ahmedabad to Guwahati via Delhi on Monday tested positive for COVID-19.
Air India had also said on Wednesday that a passenger who was on an Alliance Air flight from Delhi to Ludhiana tested positive and a total of 41 people, including five crew members, had been quarantined.