When a couple from Madurai decided to get married, they didn’t let the pandemic or the lockdown in Tamil Nadu deter them. The couple booked a SpiceJet chartered flight and got married mid-air while flying from Madurai to Bengaluru on Sunday. The flight was airborne for at least 2 hours and there were around 160 wedding guests onboard booked as other passengers. Soon after, a video of the mid-air wedding went viral. It showed the wedding ceremony as well as the bridegroom and bride posing for pictures. Friends and relatives on the plane were seen blessing the couple. The cameraperson was also heard instructing the bridegroom to smile for the picture.
The wedding, conducted during a single-day relaxation on Sunday provided by the government ahead of the lockdown, received mixed reactions. Many people raised concerns since the passengers were not wearing their masks properly and failed to follow physical distancing, in a blatant violation of COVID-19 norms. On Monday, Madurai Airport Director S Senthil Valavan told ANI that the SpiceJet chartered flight booked on Sunday took off from Madurai Airport. The authorities were unaware of the mid-air wedding ceremony.
Meanwhile, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has initiated an investigation into the incident and sought a report from the airline and airport authorities. The DGCA has also derostered the SpiceJet crew and instructed the airline to lodge a complaint with the relevant authorities against the couple and organisers for violating COVID-19 protocols.
From Monday, Tamil Nadu has been placed under complete lockdown up to May 31 to curb the spread of the virus. During this period, only emergency services are permitted without any relaxations. The state has said that grocery stores also will remain shut during this period.
While there is no clarity on the number of people allowed for weddings, the state has removed inter-district travel for weddings from the e-registration list. The guidelines say, “Inter-district travel is allowed by e-registration only for emergency medical reasons and deaths.”