Domestic Flight Operations May Resume by 18 May: Report
The DGCA is considering several changes in flight operations for passenger safety including limits of cabin bags.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation has come out with a draft Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the restarting of commercial passenger flights in the country. Domestic flight operations in India have been suspended since 25 March due to the nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus.
Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of Civil Aviation, also suggested in a post on Twitter preparations to restart civil aviation operations are in place and a calibrated reopening can happen after the lockdown.
According to a report by CNN-News18, there is a possibility that domestic flight operation in India could resume by 18 May.
Some of the measures included in the draft SOP state passengers will have to fill in a detailed questionnaire related to coronavirus, reach the airport at least two hours prior to departure, no cabin baggage will be allowed, and have the Aarogya Setu app downloaded.
However, Rajeev Jain, Additional Director General, Ministry of Civil Aviation, issued a statement on 12 May, clarifying that the SOP is a draft discussion paper and the final SOP is yet to be issued.
An official with the Airports Authority of India was quoted in a Mint report stating that the body is ready to start operations and will take a limited time to resume.
The following are some draft SOP suggestions by the civil aviation ministry for resuming flight operations:
- Mandatory to have Aarogya Setu App on phone.
- Mandatory to wear protective gear like mask and hand gloves.
- No catering in flights with travel duration less than two hours.
- Passengers will fill a form declaring their COVID-19 history.
- Separate seats at the back for suspected persons.
- No cabin baggage is allowed.
- Only web-checkin allowed.
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