Ludhiana: Posing new trouble for frequent fliers of Punjab, especially businessmen, several states have made it mandatory to carry a Covid-19 negative report before entering their airports. Many passengers were caught unawares about the restrictions and as a result several of them had to face inconvenience.
As of now, Bihar, Karnataka, Uttarakhand and Manipur have made it mandatory for passengers coming from Punjab to get a Covid test conducted before flying. Odisha has imposed a seven days’ home quarantine and rapid antigen testing for those arriving from Punjab. Travel agents of the city are worried over the development, as they fear losing domestic air ticketing business in the coming days.
Gurpreet Singh Chawla, president of Micro and Small Travel Agents’ Association, Ludhiana, said, “The domestic air travellers are facing problems, as a number of states have put Punjab on the list of those requiring mandatory Covid-19 negative report. Bihar, Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Odisha are some of such states. What is even worse is lack of proper communication from these states and airlines. One of my customers, who had booked a flight ticket to Patna, had to cancel it after he was asked by the airlines to present his Covid-19 negative report first.”
Rakesh Sharma, sales head of a local travel agency, said, “In the wake of rising coronavirus cases in Punjab, every other day a state imposes restrictions on our passengers. The worst sufferers are the frequent fliers, like businessmen and professionals. Biggest challenge right now is that if they have to travel about five times in a month, they will have to get themselves tested again and again. Addition of more states to this list will definitely put a negative impact on our business.”
Pawan Kumar, a resident of Pakhowal Road, said, “I had booked air tickets from Chandigarh to Bangalore for Sunday, but to my shock when I reached the check-in counter at the airport, they refused to issue me a boarding pass, saying Karnataka has made Covid-19 negative report compulsory for people travelling from Punjab. As the test report takes time, I got my flight rescheduled by a week.”