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Maharashtra says no to resuming flight operations, to continue lockdown till May 31

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New Delhi, May 23: The Maharashtra government on Saturday clarified that it has not amended its lockdown order dated May 19 and will not allow air travel till the end of the month even as domestic flight operations are set to begin in a phased manner from Monday.

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The Centre "arbitrarily" made the decision to allow domestic flight operations and there was no consultation with the state, the Uddhav Thackeray government said.

The state needs time to decide on the Standard Operating Protocols (SOP) over air travel, adding that "outside airport, everything becomes state government's responsibility", the government said.

Therefore, the Maharashtra government has decided to wait for a discussion with the Center before changing lockdown protocols for flight operation.

Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri on Wednesday announced that domestic passenger flight operations will recommence in a calibrated manner from Monday, May 25, 2020.

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All scheduled commercial passenger flights remain suspended in India since March 25, when the country went into lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus.

"All airports and air carriers are being informed to be ready for operations from 25th May. SOPs for passenger movement are also being separately issued by Ministry of Civil Aviation," Puri said in a tweet.

Airport operators have been asked to make appropriate arrangements for sanitisation of a passenger's baggage before his or her entry into the terminal building.

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