Coronavirus Pandemic: Flights at Mumbai Airport down to only 11 from 950 a day

Coronavirus Pandemic: Flights at Mumbai Airport down to only 11 from 950 a day

Mumbai Airport, which is usually bustling with passengers and handles an average of 950 arrivals and departures a day, only managed 11 flight movements on Wednesday. The drop in the number of flights comes a day after the Central Government put a ban on domestic flights. Earlier, international flights were banned on Monday.

According to an official, all the flights were cargo flights, with six arrivals in the city and five departures. Among the arrivals, was a Boeing 747 Saudia freighter which came with four pallets of vaccines Jeddah, and left with 36 pallets of vaccines for Johannesburg.

The Air Traffic Control at Mumbai Airport is manned 24x7 and at any time, 8-10 controllers are engaged in active air traffic control. However, on Wednesday, the air control tower only required three controllers.

The government had imposed a ban on domestic passenger flights, charter aircraft flights and private aircraft flights till March 31. But later, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day national lockdown extending the ban till April 14.

Owing to the coronavirus pandemic, this is the first time in the history of Indian aviation that the Indian cities will not be connected by passenger flights. While there are no commercial passenger flights, the ATC towers are still operational. The control towers are accommodating freighter flights, medical evacuation flights, state and union government aircraft and special flights, besides overflying flights.

After PM Modi announced a national lockdown till April 14, people began panicking and began booking flights to get back to their homes.

Amidst this panic, it is said that flight fares from Mumbai to locations like Jaipur surged to ₹31,500. By evening, a flight headed to Delhi was seen priced at ₹36,000. However, this was for the premium class tickets as the airline had already run out of economy class seats.