India domestic air travel to resume May 25 after virus shutdown

An IndiGo Airlines aircraft prepares to land as a man paddles his cycle rickshaw in Ahmedabad, India, October 26, 2015. (Reuters)
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Updated 20 May 2020

India domestic air travel to resume May 25 after virus shutdown

  • No indication was given when international travel would resume
  • The government halted all domestic flights on March 25

NEW DELHI: Domestic air travel will resume in India on May 25 after a two-month shutdown imposed to stop the spread of coronavirus, the aviation minister said Wednesday, a further easing of lockdown restrictions.
The government halted all domestic flights — which ferried 144 million passengers as well as cargo across the vast country last year — on March 25, days after suspending international flights.
“All airports and air carriers are being informed to be ready for operations from 25th May,” Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Twitter.
No indication was given when international travel would resume.
Some inter-state Indian trains — on a network which normally carries over 20 million passengers a day — resumed a week ago.
The announcement comes as the country of 1.3 billion people on Wednesday reported its biggest daily jump in coronavirus infections, with 5,611 new cases recorded in 24 hours.
It took the total to 106,750, with the financial capital Mumbai the worst-hit city, according to government figures.
More than 3,300 people have died — though unofficial estimates are higher — and Mumbai accounts for almost a quarter of fatalities.
Other major cities such as New Delhi and Ahmedabad are also badly affected.
Experts predict that epidemic will worsen in India’s major cities over the next month and infections are only expected to peak in June-July.
Despite the crisis in cities, the Indian government has insisted it is keeping the spread under control in the world’s second-most populous nation.


Thailand finance minister: economy to recover next year with 4% growth

Updated 23 November 2020

Thailand finance minister: economy to recover next year with 4% growth

  • Economy had bottomed but recovery was not fast as the battered tourism sector hurt supply chains
  • Budget for the next fiscal year will still focus on boosting domestic activity

BANGKOK: Thailand’s economy is expected to grow 4 percent in 2021 after a slump this year and fiscal policy will support a tourism-reliant economy struggling from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, the finance minister said on Monday.
Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy shrank a less than expected 6.4 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier after falling 12.1 percent in the previous three months.
The economy had bottomed but recovery was not fast as the battered tourism sector, which accounts for about 12 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), has also hurt supply chains, Finance minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said.
“Without the COVID, our economy could have expanded 3 percent this year, he said. “As we expect a 6 percent contraction this year, there is the output gap of 9 percent,” he told a business forum.
“Next year, we expect 4 percent growth, which is still not 100 percent yet,” Arkhom said, adding it could take until 2022 to return to pre-pandemic levels.
There is still fiscal policy room to help growth from this year’s fiscal budget and some from rehabilitation spending, he said.
The budget for the next fiscal year will still focus on boosting domestic activity, Arkhom said, and the current public debt of 49 percent of GDP was manageable.
Of the government’s 1 trillion baht ($33 billion) borrowing plan, 400 billion would be for economic revival, of which about 120 billion-130 billion has been approved, Arkhom said.
He wants the Bank of Thailand to take more action short term on the baht, which continued to rise on Monday, despite central bank measures announced on Friday to rein in the currency strength.
“They have done that and they have their measures... which should be introduced gradually and more intensely,” Arkhom said.