Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri’s statement that any incoming flights to bring Indians back home will have to await the lifting of the lockdown indicates that international air traffic will be resumed when the current lockdown ends…reports Asian Lite News
India’s Civil Aviation Ministry offered cautious optimism that passenger air connections with the UAE may be resumed soon after India’s three-week lockdown prompted by the global COVID-19 outbreak ends on April 14.
“Any incoming flights to bring Indians back home will have to await the lifting of the lockdown,” Hardeep Singh Puri, the Minister for Civil Aviation, told reporters.
“The lockdown is till April 15. And, we can start considering the resumption of flights on a case-by-case basis depending on where they are coming from after that,” Puri said.
India banned all scheduled international commercial passenger aircraft from landing in India effective March 22 without any timeline. Puri’s statement today is the first indication that international air traffic will be resumed when the current lockdown ends.
The cut off in civil aviation links between India and the outside world came into effect two days before the domestic lockdown and was prompted by concern that international passenger arrivals were fuelling the spread of Coronavirus. So there was no guarantee until this evening that an end to the lockdown will automatically lead to a resumption of international flights.
“Unless the lockdown is extended, the Ministry of Health will decide which all countries are safe enough to allow people to fly from into India starting April 15,” Civil Aviation Secretary P.S. Kharola, who was with the Minister, added.
Meanwhile, Air India’s Chairman Rajiv Bansal said the airline will shortly operate 18 flights to evacuate foreign nationals stuck in India because of disruptions in international air traffic.
Several GCC citizens are also stuck in India and the evacuation flights by Air India and other Gulf airlines will see their return home in the next few days.
“These flights out of India will be carrying their citizens. On the way back to India, the aircraft will not have any cargo or any passenger,” Bansal said.
Some Gulf airlines are continuing to operate cargo flights to India and back during the lockdown.
Prime Minster Narendra Modi told Chief Ministers of all Indian states in a video conference today that the ongoing lockdown will be ended in phases from April 14.
He was quoted as saying that the lockdown had helped limit COVID-19 infections. “But the situation remains far from satisfactory around the world and there could be a second wave of the pandemic.”
Private Tuition Banned
The Ministry of Education, MoE, has banned until further notice all forms of remedial tutoring offered to students at private entities, residences, and educational institutions. Remote learning offered to students is exempted from this rule.
The Ministry said the decision was taken as part of preventative and precautionary measures against the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, with the aim of protecting the health of students and the general public.
The Ministry stressed that the education sector is a priority receiving immense support from the UAE leadership, which is concertedly following up on educational developments and the future of pupils in the country.
Digital Financial Services, a joint venture between Etisalat and Noor Bank, today announced the launch of eWallet’s international remittance services to 200 countries and territories worldwide in partnership with MoneyGram International.
eWallet customers can now make international money transfers in real-time free of charge from their homes. Money transfers can now be digitally made to over 350,000 locations consisting of banks, over the counter agents, and international mobile wallet operators in over 200 countries and territories worldwide.
An eWallet customer, depending on the destination, will have the option to send funds either directly to a recipient’s bank account or to a mobile wallet.
Ahmed Al Awadi, Chairman of eWallet, said, “eWallet continues to be an innovative solution that uplifts the way UAE residents conduct financial transactions today. We understand that in light of the current global situation, people are increasingly choosing to send money digitally from the comfort and safety of their homes. As people work to support their family and loved ones across the globe, we aim to enable them to safely and instantly remit money to over 200 countries and territories worldwide.”
The eWallet is regulated and licensed by the Central Bank of the UAE.
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