Ministry of Civil Aviation on Thursday issued detailed guidelines for passengers and airport operators to resume domestic flight services. The government had earlier announced that flights would resume from May 25.
The ministry instructions include no physical check in at airport counters. Only passengers with confirmed web check-in will be allowed to enter the airport, it said.
“A self declaration/Aarogya Setu app status (for compatible devices) would also be obtained that the passenger is free of Covid-19 symptoms. Passengers with “red” status on the Aarogya Setu app would not be permitted to travel,” it added.
If passengers don’t have Aarogya Setu, they should be facilitated to a counter made available by the airport where the app can be downloaded, the SOP said. Only children below the age of 14 years are exempted from this requirement.
Passengers are required to wear face masks. Airlines should not provide meal services on board and cabin crew should be in full protective suits, the guidelines said.
In a press conference, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said that quarantine of passengers will have to be dealt with in a pragmatic manner, according to NDTV. The report quoted him as saying that government feels such measures are not required for short-haul domestic flights.
“Because you had long-haul (international) flights, there was a requirement prior to and later for quarantine. But since these (domestic) flights are short-haul, we don’t think that quarantine is required at this point of time,” Puri was quoted by Moneycontrol as saying.
The guidelines said passengers could carry only one check-in bag and use of baggage trolleys should be minimised. Passengers are required to report at the airport at least two hours before departure time.
Boarding for a flight will commence 60 minutes before departure and boarding gate will be closed 20 minutes before departure, it said.
In the aircraft, the ministry has advised passengers to minimise the use of lavatory. No meal services will be provided on board and no newspaper or magazine will be available.
There will also be no on-board sale to avoid physical contact, the ministry said.
Earlier, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) had also issued a standard operating procedure (SOP) to airport operators. However, Hindustan Times quoted a senior government official as saying that AAI will have to follow the guidelines decided by the civil aviation ministry and the DGCA.
The air cleaning systems inside the aircraft can sufficiently target the spread through air, according to Moneycontrol. One of the reasons is that the air is recycled fully every two to three minutes, it said and added that the air is filtered through HEPA filters that have very high efficiency and filtration.