AAI advisory for domestic fliers: Just one check-in baggage, no food on plane

Thermal screening, downloading Aarogya Setu app must for passengers; airport authorities asked to sanitise baggage, avoid crowding and use open air ventilation instead of ACs when services resume on May 25

According to the Department of Transport, eligible travellers vaccinated in over 37 new countries, including India and Pakistan, will be treated the same as returning fully vaccinated UK residents if they have not visited a red list country or territory in the ten days before arriving in England.

A day after the Centre announced resumption of domestic passenger flight services from May 25, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has issued a standard operating procedure (SOP) for airport operators to be followed.

Mandatory procedures to be followed by fliers include downloading the Aarogya Setu app on their cell phones and getting themselves thermal screened before entering the airport terminal building.

Here’s a list of instructions that the AAI wants passengers and airports to follow:

  1. All passengers should download Aarogya Setu app. The download will be verified by the CISF or the airport staff at the entry gate of the terminal building. It is however not mandatory for children below 14 years of age.
  2. Passengers shall compulsorily walk through screening zone for thermal screening at a designated place in the city side before entering the terminal building.
  3. Passengers should reach airport two hours before the scheduled time of departure and the passengers who have departure in next four hours will only be allowed to enter the terminal building.
  4. Only passengers with confirmed web check-in will be allowed to enter the airport.
  5. All passengers are required to wear face mask.
  6. Only one check-in bag will be allowed.
  7. Passengers will not be allowed to consume anything in the aircraft.
  8. Passengers have been advised to minimise the use of lavatories.
  9. Airport operators should make appropriate arrangements for sanitisation of passengers’ baggage before their entry into the terminal building.
  10. Traffic in kerb area or city side or car parking area should be strictly monitored in coordination with the traffic police or the CISF to prevent congestion and maintain social distancing.
  11. Trolleys wouldn’t be allowed in departure or arrival area. However, select few passengers who require trolley due to genuine reasons will be provided on request basis only.
  12. Airport operators will ensure that all entry gates of the terminal building must be kept open in order to avoid crowding.
  13. Mats or carpets soaked with bleach – sodium hypochlorite solution – must be placed at the entrance of the terminal building to disinfect shoes.
  14. For passengers with special needs, unaccompanied minor, etc. the handling stuff must be in full protection gear with pre-sanitised wheelchairs.
  15. Newspapers and magazines will not be provided anywhere in the terminal building.
  16. Food, beverages and retail outlets must be opened with proper COVID-19 precautions.
  17. Airport authorities should use open air ventilation instead of central air conditioning.
  18. At boarding gates, passengers should be allowed to board in batches as per seating arrangement to avoid crisscrossing inside the aircraft.
  19. The cabin crew will be in protective suits.

According to senior government officials, the government is likely to put a floor price and a cap price on all airfares in order to avoid predatory pricing and high ticket fares. Reports say, the government is likely to permit only around 30 per cent of domestic flights initially.

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The AAI manages more than 100 airports across the country. However, major airports like Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad are managed by private companies.

All scheduled commercial passenger flights have been suspended since March 25 when the nationwide lockdown came into force to combat the coronavirus pandemic. Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had announced on Wednesday that domestic flight services would resume from May 25 onwards in a calibrated manner.

(With inputs from agencies)

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