As Covid-battered Maharashtra shuts down, all flights shifted to CSMIA's T2

Maharashtra imposed a 15-day partial lockdown in the state from 8 pm on April 14 in a desperate attempt to arrest the alarming Covid surge

As Covid-battered Maharashtra shuts down, all flights shifted to CSMIA's T2
Representative image of Terminal 2 of Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA). Image courtesy: Wikimedia Commons/Innocentbunny

In view of the Covid crisis that is again threatening to go out of control, the Mumbai airport has decided to consolidate all domestic and international flight operations through Terminal 2. As a result, all domestic flights operating from Terminal 1 would be shifted to state-of-the-art Terminal 2 from April 21, 2021. Maharashtra had led the country in terms of Covid infections since the outbreak of the pandemic last year and is the state worst affected by the ongoing Covid surge as well. 

"In light of the latest developments in the ongoing pandemic situation, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) has decided to re-consolidate all domestic passenger flights currently operating via Terminal 1. With effect from April 21, 2021, CSMIA will be conducting all international as well as domestic flight operations through its iconic, advanced Terminal 2. All passengers of GoAir, Star Air, Air Asia, TruJet and IndiGo are requested to get in touch with the respective airlines for further queries," a CSMIA spokesperson was quoted as saying by the Hindustan Times. 

The spokesperson added that during these challenging times, the airport has been working closely with its stakeholders and relevant regulatory and government bodies to battle the deadly virus and that the airport is strictly following the guidelines of the ministry of civil aviation (MoCA) and the Maharashtra government.  

Three other major Indian carriers -- Air India, SpiceJet and Vistara -- already operate from Terminal 2 at the CSMIA. SpiceJet had moved to T2 on September 22, 2019. 

Operations at T1 was suspended temporarily and consolidated through T2 last year in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis. Flights were restarted from T1 on March 10, 2020, and GoAir, AirAsia India, Star Air and TruJet resumed operations from T1. Most of the IndiGo flights, however, continued to be managed from T2, except a few base flights. The re-consolidation of flights became necessary now as Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) was imposed in Maharashtra to prevent the assembly of more than five people at one spot considering the massive spike in Covid-19 cases in the state. 

Also read: Mumbai airport slaps hefty fine on Covid norm violators

The Maharashtra government imposed a 15-day partial lockdown in the state from 8 pm on April 14 in a desperate attempt to arrest the alarming Covid surge. Severe, curfew-like restrictions have been introduced. Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray wrote in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that a mini lockdown was the need of the hour given the current Covid situation in the state and urged that the pandemic be notified as a natural calamity for State Disaster Response Fund, according to a Times of India report.

 Maharashtra continued to reel under Covid caseload, reporting 61,695 new cases -- the highest in the country -- over a 24-hour period on April 16. The state had recorded the highest single-day rise with 63,294 cases on April 12. The number of active cases in the state rose by 8,011 and the number of deaths by 349 over the past 24 hours. The total number of Covid-19 infections (active, cured/discharged/migrated and fatal) in Maharashtra as of April 16, 2021, was 36,39,855, making up one-fourth of the total Covid-19 cases in the country. 

Also read: In Covid hotbed Mumbai, this is how flyers are harassed in the name of RT-PCR tests

Maharashtra and nine other states, namely Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal accounted for 79% of the 2,17,353 new cases registered in India over the past 24 hours.   

While several states of India have imposed restrictions on passengers flying in from Maharashtra, the state has introduced Covid restrictions of its own. Accordingly, passengers from Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Goa and Kerala are required to carry a negative report from an RT-PCR test done within 72 hours of scheduled arrival in Maharashtra. Those without such reports have to undergo RT-PCR tests at the arrival airport at their own cost. 

All asymptomatic passengers intending to stay in Maharashtra for seven days or less are exempted from mandatory quarantine and other asymptomatic passengers are required to undergo 14 days of home quarantine. 

Passengers would be allowed to travel to and from the airport during the night curfew period provided they carry their proof of travel: valid ticket/boarding pass. 

International passengers to Maharashtra have to have a negative report from an RT-PCR test done within 72 hours of the flight. All arriving passengers would have to undergo another self-paid RT-PCR/molecular test at the Mumbai airport. The cost of this Covid test varies between different cities of Maharashtra. 

Passengers are also required to fill in the self-declaration form on the Air Suvidha portal and upload their negative RT-PCR test reports and travel history of the past 14 days at least 72 hours prior to departure, if they are flying in from the UK, South Africa, Brazil or the Middle East. 

All international passengers arriving in Maharashtra also must download the Aarogya Setu app on their mobile phones and undertake to undergo home quarantine/self-monitoring of health for 14 days or as warranted by the state/appropriate authority.

From April 1, the CSMIA had also decided to levy a spot fine of Rs 1,000 on passengers violating Covid-19 safety norms, such as wearing masks to cover both the nose and mouth and maintaining social distance among others.

(Cover image courtesy: Wikimedia Commons/Innocentbunny)