As the Civil Aviation Ministry announced resuming the domestic flight services in a 'calibrated manner' from May 25, the Ministry as well as the Airport Authority of India (AAI) has issued a set of guidelines for the same amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Full seats to be occupied
Although the Aviation Ministry has issued stringent guidelines and measures to be followed by the passengers as well as crew members on the flight, the Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri has stated that the social distancing measurements cannot be efficiently met even if the middle seats in flights are kept vacant, due to which the ministry has decided to fill up those seats too.
The Aviation minister has announced the restarting of domestic flight operations in India on Wednesday, May 20.
Initially, the flight services were declared to resume its services with fewer numbers of passengers, preferably with empty middle seats so as to reduce the communication between the passengers on board.
Meanwhile, passengers' seating arrangements inside the airports, according to the issued guidelines, shall be done in such a manner that keeps up adequate social distancing between them. The chairs and seats that are not to be used by them while waiting will be properly sealed with markers/tapes.
Taking to Twitter, Hardeep Singh Puri said, "Domestic civil aviation operations will recommence in a calibrated manner from Monday 25th May 2020. All airports and air carriers are being informed to be ready for operations from 25th May."
He also mentioned that the special operating procedures (SOPs) for passenger movement are being separately issued by the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
In its set of guidelines for passengers boarding the domestic flights amid the pandemic scare, the Airports Authority of India has compulsorily demanded the passengers to wear masks and gloves. In addition to this, they should mandatorily have 'Aarogya Setu' app installed in their phones.
The Aviation minister, in his recent press conference, has additionally stated that the opening of international flight services can only be addressed after examining the situations and procedures of the domestic flight services that begin from May 25.
A passenger will require to wear protective gear, face mask & carry sanitizer bottle, reiterated the Minister.
Moreover, he explained that the airlines shall not provide meals on board although water bottles will be made available in gallery area or on seats. Most of the other airlines across various countries that opt to carry out their services during the pandemic have cancelled the meal delivery system, considering the chances of spread of the coroanvirus.
A self-declaration or Aarogya Setu App status on a compatible device would be obtained by the flight officials to ensure that a passenger is free of Covid symptoms. The Minister has thereby made it clear that a passenger shown red status on Aarogya Setu App will not be allowed to travel on the flights.
To ensure minimum contact with the airport staff and passengers, no physical check-up or frisking would be done in the terminals. Instead strict web check-up measures will be opted, stated the guidelines.