Guwahati, May 25: Domestic air travel resumed in Assam on Monday along with several other states, as the first flight arrived at the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport here from Delhi in the morning, an official said.
The first flight to Guwahati landed from Delhi this morning, carrying 77 passengers, who were immediately taken for screening and for collection of swabs at a hotel near the airport.
Already, seven flight carrying 547 passengers arrived at Guwahati and another flight is expected to arrive later in the day with 139 people.
Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma visited the airport and the hotel to oversee the entire operation and said the Health Department in association with other departments concerned were fully capable of handling the rush.
“We are expecting 600-700 people today and it will be around 1,000 tomorrow. We are prepared for this with the help of all other departments such as transport and police and the Airports Authority of India,” he told reporters here.
He said 32 flights were permitted to operate to Assam, of which only eight were operational on Monday, and the number is likely to increase in the next few days.
The minister said the state was going to face “tough times” in the next 10 days with an inflow of thousands of people.
Though Assam has six operational airports, only Guwahati has started functioning, while four more will operate from May 28 once commercial flights from West Bengal commence.
Assam has imposed mandatory institutional quarantine for all air passengers, with some exceptions, and has been putting them up at different hotels across the state.
On the first day, a total of eight flights would land at the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport in Guwahati from Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai and Imphal, and an equal number will leave for the same places, an Airports Authority of India (AAI) official told PTI.
Considering arrivals and departures, Indigo will operate 10 flights, while Air Asia and SpiceJet will ply four and two flights respectively on Monday, he said.
“We have information bout 600 people arriving in Guwahati today. However, the exact number is shared an hour before the departure,” the official said.
Sarma said around 8,000 persons are stuck at the moment in trains in different states due to cyclone ‘Amphan’ and they will arrive in the next few days.
“So, the next one week to 10 days will be tough for us. We have set up around 70 quarantine centres in Guwahati for the people from the city. People from other places will be taken to their home districts for quarantine there,” he added.
On the people coming from other states, the minister appealed to all to arrive before June 10 so that the state machinery can concentrate on flood management and other works from July onwards.
“We hope to close this chapter by June. We request all those, who are willing, to come to Assam by June 10. We will have 14 days of quarantine thereafter. We do not want to linger over this for a long time,” he added.
The AAI official said that the Directorate General of Civil Aviation has not cleared flight operations for Jorhat, while four more airports at Dibrugarh, Silchar, Tezpur and Lilabari will start functioning from May 28 once West Bengal allows air traffic. (PTI)