As the Airports Authority of India (AAI) issued detailed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for domestic flights on Thursday, it has emphasized the social distancing norms - which is being touted as the new normal in the Post Coronavirus world. The SOP states that meal services will not be available, and passengers will not be allowed to have any eatables inside the aircraft. It further says that there will be no sale of items inside the aircraft. Passengers have also been advised to minimise the use of lavatory. The domestic flights service will resume from May 25.
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.
Ministry of Civil Aviation issues general instructions for domestic travellers. Only those passengers with confirmed web check-in will be allowed to enter the airport. Passengers will be required to wear protective gear (face mask). Only one check-in bag will be allowed. pic.twitter.com/EVFrOnLgzs— ANI (@ANI) May 21, 2020
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.