The Civil Aviation Ministry of India (MoCA) has allowed airlines to serve hot meals on all domestic flights. The air carriers were barred from serving in-flight meals, which have a duration of less than two hours, since April 15 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The ministry has also permitted resumption of magazine and reading materials for passengers on domestic flights, the order noted.
"The airlines, operating flights on domestic sectors may provide meal services on board, without restriction on duration of the flight," the ministry's order said on Tuesday. The decision to resume meals and magazines has been taken as "Covid caseload" has reduced due to "proper implementation of appropriate Covid behaviour protocol", it mentioned.
When the scheduled domestic flight services were resumed on May 25 last year after the lockdown imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus, the ministry had allowed the airlines to serve in-flight meals under certain conditions.
Earlier, Vistara, a Tata-SIA alliance airliner announced to re-introduced in-flight meals across cabins on its domestic network. The domestic airline has also resumed serving hot vegetarian meals in the Economy Class on its flights within India. Vistara has laid out a detailed plan to keep the inflight menu new and refreshed. As per the company, a lot of travellers preferred Vistara over other domestic airlines due to good quality in-flight meal. Vistara says they will be refreshing meals every three days which includes options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.
In Economy Class, breakfast options include Masala Uttappam, Medu Vada, Idli with sambar etc.; lunch and dinner options include Vegetable Biryani with Dal Makhani, Jeera Pulao with Chana Masala, and more; while Masala Pao with Bhaji, Hot Garlic Vegetables with Noodles, etc. will be served as snacks on relevant flights.
Apart from Vistara, the other brands serving fresh hot meals in the cabin were Air India and Air Asia, all three belonging to the Tata Group. Other brands like IndiGo and SpiceJet serve pre-packed meals and stopped selling fresh food including sandwiches during COVID-19.