Though cargo, medical evacuation and repatriation flights carried on with their services during the nation lockdown, passenger airlines have remained dormant for nearly 2 months. The Minister of Aviation had stated the sector’s preparedness to pick up from where it left off, as soon as it received a green signal from the Centre.
On May 20, Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri tweeted that domestic flight services will resume from May 25, but in a calibrated manner. The Ministry will soon announce the SOP for domestic travel via airlines. Airports Authority of India’s Directorate of operations states that airports will facilitate domestic as well as international flights in phases, once the nationwide lockdown is lifted. However, social distancing is the need of the hour, and to maintain distance from one another, airlines capacity may reduce to a mere 30%, to begin with. Flights will also be limited to Tier I and major Tier-II cities.
Earlier this month, the government has conveyed words to airport managers across the country, informing them to be prepared for the resumption of service, after which airports across the country have introduced certain preventive measures to avoid community transmission within the airport premises. The minister has outlined some of the rules and regulations to be followed by prospective passengers.
- The Aarogya Setu application should be installed in each and every mobile phone.
- It is mandatory for the passengers to fill up a questionnaire related to COVID-19, to check his/her awareness regarding the virus.
- They should also print their own boarding passes, as no queue will be encouraged, anywhere.
- They must reach 2 hours before the time of departure.
- Masks to be made compulsory along with thermal screening of every passenger.
- As the virus has the potential to linger on surfaces for hours, baggage may be reduced to one per passenger.
- No cabin baggage will be permitted.
- No in-flight services to be provided.