A total of 25 flights will be operated in and out from the Mumbai international airport beginning May 25, when domestic flights resume partial operations in the country, state minorities affairs minister Nawab Malik said on Sunday.
Interestingly, this statement of Malik, a senior Nationalist Congress Party leader, came hours after chief minister Uddhav Thackeray said that he had sought more time from the civil aviation ministry to restart the operations at the Mumbai international airport.
Earlier in the day, state home minister Anil Deshmukh, also of the NCP, said that it was "extremely ill-advised" to reopen airports in red zone amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"The Mumbai International Airport will operate 25 flights in and out on daily basis starting Monday onwards. The number of flights will be increased steadily," Malik told news channels.
In an online briefing, Thackeray had said, "I spoke to civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri today and told him that the Mumbai international airport needs more time to resume its operations.
"Till the time MIAL (Mumbai International Airport Limited) plans and fine-tunes the airport operations, the aviation ministry should initiate minimum possible domestic flights from Maharashtra from May 25th, which are purely emergent in nature like for international transfer of passengers, medical emergencies, students, and cases on compassionate grounds".
Meanwhile, the Kolkata and Bagdogra airports in West Bengal will handle domestic services from May 28, senior government officials said.
A day before resumption of domestic commercial passenger flights across India, states expressed their reluctance to deal with so many incoming passengers amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Therefore, the Hyderabad airport will deal with only 30 domestic flights per day from Monday, and there will be no domestic services at the Vijaywada and the Vizag airports on Monday, they said.
"Kolkata and Bagdogra will each handle only 20 flights per day from May 28 onwards," the officials said.
Puri had announced resumption of domestic flight services from May 25 as part of the Centre's efforts to gradually open the air travel that was suspended nearly two months ago due to a lockdown imposed to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.