Centre overrules Delhi, says domestic flights will continue

According to sources in the civil aviation ministry, Delhi government’s order was deemed null as civil aviation was a Central subject, and that while entry into the NCT via road can be prohibited by the Delhi government, only the Centre had powers to restrict flight movement.




Delhi’s decision to impose a complete lockdown in the city, including on operations of domestic flights, was Sunday evening overturned by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). The state government’s order, announced around 6.30 pm, stated: “All domestic/international flights arriving in Delhi during this period shall be suspended.”

Shortly afterwards, a spokesperson for the Central Civil Aviation Ministry said that the IGI airport will continue to operate. “Domestic flights to and from IGI Airport, Delhi shall continue to operate and the airport shall remain functional,” the spokesperson said.

According to sources in the civil aviation ministry, Delhi government’s order was deemed null as civil aviation was a Central subject, and that while entry into the NCT via road can be prohibited by the Delhi government, only the Centre had powers to restrict flight movement.

“The subject falls under the central government (aviation ministry), and they have decided that all domestic flights to and from IGIA Delhi shall continue to operate and the airport shall remain functional,” said DGCA Chief Arun Kumar.

Officials in the Delhi government said the decision had been taken keeping the L-G in the loop. “He is the representative of the Centre. He signed the order and was present at the press conference. Our order is very clear. We do not think flights should be allowed to function. We have to go into complete lockdown,” said a senior government official.

There is also confusion over how those who land at the airport will reach home since private buses, taxis, and autorickshaws are off the roads. “Only 25% of the DTC bus fleet will be on the roads. We don’t understand why the Centre doesn’t want to stop domestic travel,” said the official.

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