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Domestic airlines are finally set to resume operations, in a gradual manner from 25 May.
Earlier, Civil Aviation Minister, Hardeep Singh Puri had said that the domestic flight operations in India would resume once the state governments were ready to open airports.
It is not upto @MoCA_GoI or centre alone to decide on resuming domestic flights.
— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) May 19, 2020
Now, flights can operate to all major cities including the ones in red zones such as Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, after their respective state governments have given the green light.
While bookings for domestic flights have already begun, the suspension on international flights which has been in place since 22 March, will continue.
The Airport Experience is Going to Change Completely
With an aim to maintain minimum contact between flyers and airport staff, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has released a detailed set of Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) guidelines for passenger movement.
There will be constant surveillance of social distance, and newspapers and magazines inside the terminal will be prohibited. Apart from fumigating commercial service outlets and queuing areas in the airports, mats or carpets soaked with bleach (sodium hypochlorite solution) will be placed at entrances to disinfect shoes.
The SOP also calls for an usage of open-air ventilation wherever possible instead of central-air-conditioning. In cases where it is unavoidable, officials must ensure a change of air filters every few hours.
Here are some additional guidelines:
1. Only web-check in will be allowed, so passengers will have to print their boarding passes and check-in baggage tag at home.
2. Only personal vehicles and authorised taxi services will be permitted to enter the airport.
3. Passengers will have to arrive two hours before departure to maintain social distance at every level. Only passengers with a departure in the next four hours will be allowed to enter the terminal.
4. The use of trolleys will be discouraged at the departure and arrival areas. However, select passengers with genuine reasons will be given a trolley, on request basis.
5. Mandatory use of face masks and personal protective equipment.
6. Thermal screening on departure and arrival.
7. Boarding will be done in batches as per seating arrangements.
8. In-flight services will be curtailed on low-cost airlines, and only packed meals will be given by full-service airlines.
9. All passengers must compulsorily register with the Arogya Setu App. The airport staff at the gate will verify the same. The app is not mandatory for children below the age of 14 years.
10. Flyers will also have to fill a questionnaire about their history related to COVID-19 and quarantine. Any passenger who has undergone quarantine in the last month will be sent for security checks at an isolated unit in the airport.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)