Indian airlines have been ordered to halt all domestic flight operations by midnight.
This amounts to at least 650 aircraft that will have to park up and sit idle until at least March 31.
However that is a tentative date that could be extended.
“Operations will cease with effect from midnight. Airlines have to plan operations so as to land at their destination before 23.59 hours,” the civil aviation ministry said.
“The central government considers that the movement of persons within the country by flights carrying a large number of persons together will aid and assist the spread of the virus within India and for the prevention of further spread of the epidemic disease, such movement of people must be restricted.”
Cargo only flights are not affected by the ban.
It comes as some states go into lockdown with trains and long distance bus services suspended.
India has more than 450 cases of covid-19 and nine deaths.