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Good News: Domestic Flights to Resume from May 25; Important Guidelines for Passengers

Pronami Chetia
Pronami Chetia

In midst of the 4.0 nationwide lockdown, the government, on Wednesday, announced that domestic airlines would resume operations on May 25 in a calibrated manner after a gap of more than two months.  As per reports, commercial flights have been suspended since March 25 as part of the nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19; only cargo flights and special evacuation flights were permitted during the period. 

Moreover, the centre has directed all airports and airline companies to gear up to start their operations and the domestic flights from the scheduled date and standard operating procedures would be announced shortly, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Wednesday.  

As per reports, Inter Globe Aviation, which operates domestic flights under the IndiGo brand, had soared by Rs 105 or 12 per cent to trade at the inter-day high of Rs 1,017 while another domestic airlines Spicejet was locked at the upper circuit of 5 per cent at Rs 42.95 on the BSE. 

The Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri made it clear that it would not be possible to keep the middle seat vacant as such a measure would not help in maintaining the prescribed social distancing and would only lead to a 33 per cent jump in fares across sectors. 

Important Guidelines for Flight Passenger:  

Some of the new SOPs to be followed at airports are: 

  • Passengers have to be thermal screened and must have AarogyaSetu on their mobiles, except children below 14. If they don't show "green" or do not have the government contact tracing app, they will not be allowed in 

  • Passengers should reach the airport two hours before departure

  • Passengers will be allowed into the terminal building if their flights are within four hours

  • State governments and administrations have to ensure public transport and private taxis for passengers and airline crew

  • Only personal vehicles or select cab services will be allowed to take passengers and staff to the airport or from it.

  • All passengers have to wear masks and gloves

  • For physical distancing in passenger seating areas, chairs to be taped off or marked

  • All staff should have hand sanitizers and Personal Protective Equipment as directed by the home ministry 

  • Trolleys will not be allowed in the arrival or departure sections, except for special cases, for which they will be disinfected.

  • Airport operators should make arrangements for sanitizing baggage before entry

    • All entry gates of the terminal will be opened to avoid crowding

    • Social distancing marks or stickers at a distance of at least a metre will be provided at the entry gates, screening zones and terminals. 

    • Mats or carpets soaked with bleach will be placed at the entrance to disinfect shoes

    • Counters with Plexiglas or face shields for staff wherever there is interaction with passengers

    • Newspapers or magazines will not be provided in the terminal buildings or lounges

    • Employees with high fever, difficulty in breathing or cough will not be allowed entry into the airport

    • When flights land, passengers will be allowed to leave the plane in batches, sequentially

    Yesterday, Union Minister of Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri tweeted that domestic passenger flights would resume "in a calibrated manner". 

    Flights were stopped in late March when the country went into lockdown to slow the spread of coronavirus.  

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