Aviation ministry discusses SOP for resuming domestic flights: Aarogya Setu app must, cabin baggage barred, no meal and many more

Indian Domestic flights
The union civil aviation ministry is preparing for the resumption of domestic flights. It has started discussing standard operating procedures (SOP) which have to be followed by airlines, airports, passengers, and other stakeholders amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ministry has asked airlines, airports, and other concerned stakeholders for further inputs on the latest draft standard operating procedure. 

The airlines suspended flight for international sectors since March 23, 2020, and for domestic sectors since March 25, 2020.

The following points have been drafted for Airlines, Passengers, and Airports, respectively, which will be finalized soon.

Comments have been sought from the stakeholders on it for further changes, according to sources.

For Airlines :

1. Airlines could be asked to circulate a questionnaire to the passengers. This questionnaire would be meant for history related to COVID-19 and quarantine to be filled up by passengers in advance.

2. Passenger reporting time at the airport has been proposed to be increased to 2 hours.

3. To roster, the same set of cabin and cockpit crew as long as possible to prevent cross-contamination.

4. It has been proposed not to have cabin baggage in the initial phase. Checked in baggage could be restricted to only one piece.

5. Airlines have been asked to explore the option of disposable PPEs for passengers. The cost is to be recovered from the passenger.

6. The last three seats are proposed to be vacant in case there is a need for the medical emergency/isolation of a passenger.

7. Boarding has been proposed to be in a staggered manner in a batch of 10. A temperature check has been proposed at the boarding gate.

8. All onboard sales and meal services are proposed to be suspended.

9. Passengers will not be served meals on board. Water will be available in cups and bottles in the galley.

10. An adequate number of PPEs will be available onboard to deal with more than one such case.

For Passengers :

1. It has been proposed to permit only web check-in in the initial phase.

2. It has been proposed that passengers must wear masks, gloves or other PPE requirements as per local protocol.

3. Passengers may have to report at least two hours before departure time.

4. Only those passengers who have Green status on Aarogya Setu may be allowed to travel.

5. A proposal has also been made to restrict passengers above 80 years of age in the initial phase of air travel.

For Airports :

1. Permit entry to only those with necessary protective gear.

2. Thermal scanners and sanitizers to be installed at all entrance, exit points.

3. Use of open-air ventilation wherever possible over central air conditioning.

4. Isolation zone in the terminal building for any suspected patients.

5. Bleach cleaning mats at the entry points to disinfect shoes.

6. Sanitise checked baggage by UV or other effective methods. Social distance markings and sufficient PPEs for security staff.

7. Implement ways to ensure minimum touch concept between security staff and passengers.

8. Frisking of passengers has been asked to be minimized and to be carried out only if the door frame metal detector beeps. 9. The draft SOP has also asked the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) not to stamp passenger’s boarding pass in this phase.

10. Passenger ID checks will also be not required to minimize the crowd at terminal gates.

Further, the ministry has also suggested that the passengers who are denied travel due to high temperature or age should be permitted to change their date of travel without penalty, and airlines would have to maintain their records and help passengers accordingly.

The draft of standard operating procedures (SOPs) which have been proposed by the civil aviation ministry on Monday didn't mention the rule of keeping the middle seats vacant in compliance with social distancing norms which was initially expected and suggested by the aviation regulator DGCA in march.

Also, Air India and the Government of India are expected to resume domestic flight operations from May 19. Check herewww.tripcompile.com/Domestic-flights-to-resume-from-May19.html

An Important thing to note -  This is a draft SOP, and the final SOP will only be issued once inputs from various stakeholders are received and discussed. 
The Ministry of Civil Aviation on Tuesday has also issued a clarification over the reported standard operating procedure (SOP) for restarting of aviation post lockdown and said it is yet to be finalized.

Please let us know in the comment section below if you are satisfied with the rules and points being drafted by the government till now for the flights.

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