A day after announcing the resumption of domestic flights in India starting May 25, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) on Thursday has issued detailed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to all its airports.
According to the SOPs, the passenger seating arrangement shall be done in such a manner so as to maintain social distancing and registration with the Aarogya Setu app will be a must. It states that passengers who are not shown 'green' on the app will not be allowed to travel.
The 6-page SOP also says that state governments will arrange public transport facilities for passengers and airline staff and all passengers will pass through the screening zones before entering the terminal building. Airline Operators have been asked to set up such zones in each city.
The guideline further states that an isolation area will be made available for suspected/ confirmed Covid cases. With utmost emphasis on social distancing norms, the guidelines say that cab and taxi drivers will be trained on maintaining the same, queueing area will be allotted outside landside commercial outlet and frequent patrolling will be done to ensure it.
On luggage, the guideline states that the use of trolleys will be 'discouraged' in departure and arrival areas. It also said that newspapers and magazines will not be provided at the Terminal building and lounges. Furthermore, the airport authority will ensure the availability of hand sanitizers and mats and carpets will be sanitized using bleach.
As per Union Health Ministry's update on Thursday morning, the death toll due to COVID-19 rose to 3,435 and the number of cases to 1,12,359 in the country, registering an increase of 132 deaths and 5,609 cases in the last 24 hours. The number of active COVID-19 cases stood at 63,624, while 45,299 people have recovered and one patient has migrated.
Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri announced that domestic flights will recommence in a calibrated manner from May 25 onwards. Taking to Twitter, Puri stated that all airports and air carriers are being informed to be ready for operations from Monday onwards. He added that the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for passenger movement is also being separately issued.
The development came just a day after the Civil Aviation Minister had stated that the Centre alone cannot operate domestic flights, adding that the state governments will also have to be ready to operate domestic flights. In a notice issued by the DGCA earlier, domestic and international aviation operations had been restricted till May 31 under the fourth phase of the lockdown.
Domestic civil aviation operations will recommence in a calibrated manner from Monday 25th May 2020.— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) May 20, 2020
All airports & air carriers are being informed to be ready for operations from 25th May.
SOPs for passenger movement are also being separately issued by @MoCA_GoI.