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Uncertainty looms over resumption of flight operations in TN

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Press Trust of India Chennai
Uncertainty prevailed over

resumption of domestic flight services in Tamil Nadu effective Monday as the state government, which has opposed allowing the operations till May 31, was yet to announce its final decision and notify the Standard Operating Procedure.
As the nationwide domestic passenger flights are set to resume after a gap of two months amid the fourth phase lockdown, airport sources here said "We are ready to operate, the airlines are also ready; but the state's final nod is awaited."

The state government's nod signifying concurrence on operation of flights and the SoP on handling passengers were being awaited, they told PTI.
Besides Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and West Bengal have also opposed allowing domestic flights in view of the rising number of coronavirus cases in these states.
The Tamil Nadu government, which had shown inclination recently to allow departures rather than arrivals was, however, yet to announce its final stand and also has to clarify on "quarantine" aspects as well (in the SOP), the sources said.
Citing increasing COVID-19 cases in Tamil Nadu, Chief Minister K Palaniswami had on May 11 came out against resumption of passenger train and air services till May 31 and the stand was reiterated later as well by the government.
The state on Sunday recorded eight deaths due to COVID-19, taking the death toll to 111 while 765 fresh cases saw it's total infections breaching the 16,000 mark.
Meanwhile, when asked about an "SoP," that was circulated on the social media for air passengers arriving in Tamil Nadu, a senior state government official said it was "incorrect, not official."

However, the official did not elaborate if the government will notify the SoP and extend support for passenger movement.
Officials of the Greater Chennai Corporation, which coordinated logistics and quarantine of passengers who arrived here as part of the Vande Bharat Mission also declined to comment.
"We are ready to coordinate and work. But the word go has to come from the state government," an official said.
While purported "flight schedule," to and from Tamil Nadu was being shared in social media, the official said airport authorities have not officially communicated about it to anyone.
Adding to the uncertainty, there were several comments about resumption of flights in micro blogging site Twitter.
While Congress MP Manickam Tagore tweeted #Madurai Airport will resume operations from tomorrow, DMK MP S Senthilkumar, replying to a twitter user said "June first week can expect operation of flights to TN."

Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said on Twitter on Sunday that it is "extremely ill-advised" to reopen airports in red zones.
Echoing similar sentiments, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said she will urge the Centre to postpone the resumption of domestic flight services at Kolkata and Bagdogra airports by a few days.

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First Published: May 24 2020 | 9:29 PM IST

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