Hyderabad: The usual hustle and bustle at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA), one of the busiest airports in the country, is missing since Tuesday midnight after commercial air operations, both domestic and international, were stopped following instructions issued by the Centre in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
For the first time since its inception in March 2008, the RGIA is sporting a deserted look with only personnel from the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and Cyberabad Police Commissionerate guarding the airport round-the-clock.
Apart from RGIA, air operations were also closed at all airports across the country by the Central government as part of its measures to contain the virus. Barring cargo services to transport essential commodities and perishable goods, both international and domestic air services were completely shut.
Chartered flights arriving from abroad were also barred from landing at the airports in view of the scare.
On an average, 55,000 passengers, both international and domestic ply to and fro from the RGIA through 550 flight movements every day. Of the 55,000 passengers, 10,000 of them travel through international flights while the remaining avail the domestic services.
Of the total 550 flight movements, 70 are international flight arrivals and departures (35 each), sources said. International flights were first banned as most passengers coming from abroad reported symptoms of virus and later domestic flights were also stopped.
“We have no information till how many days the operations will be closed. The same situation might continue till mid-April,” an official said.
Aviation experts said the RGIA was witnessing a complete shutdown for the first time after commercial air operations were shifted from the decade-old Begumpet airport on March 23, 2008.
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