The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Wednesday, 8 June, made face masks mandatory on flights and ordered for passengers to be termed as "unruly" in case of non-compliance and dealt with accordingly.
The aviation regulator also said that violators can be put on the 'no-fly' list, if needed.
What are the new guidelines by the DGCA? What actions can the passengers face during non-compliance? Here's what the aviation regulator has ordered:
Will the mask have to be worn throughout the journey?
Yes, the masks have to be worn at the airport and inside the aircraft at all times through the journey and will be allowed to remove only under permitted exceptional circumstances.
What actions will passengers face for non-compliance?
The airlines have been instructed that a passenger that refuses to comply shall be deboarded before the departure
If any passenger on-board the aircraft refuses to comply, they shall be treated as 'unruly passenger' as per the prescribed DGCA definitions of the same. The airlines will be allowed to take action against the passenger as per the DGCA guidelines
What guidelines have been issued for the airlines?
The airlines are expected to:
Sensitise the passengers of the protocols in place through websites, travel agents, and displays and assistance booths at the airports
Make regular announcements for awareness of passengers to follow COVID-appropriate behaviour
Make arrangements for extra face masks and provide the passengers with the same, if required
Why have the revised guidelines come in now?
The mandate comes days after the Delhi High Court on 3 June called for strict action against those found violating masking and hand hygiene norms at airports and in aircraft.
The high court said that all such persons who are found to be violating these norms while COVID-19 remains unabated, should be booked and fined and be placed on the 'no-fly' list.
The court had asked the DGCA to give directions to all airlines to authorise the staff at airports and in aircraft, including air hostesses, captains, pilots and others to take strict action against violators.
The guidelines come as India saw a 41% rise in COVID-19 cases with 5,233 new cases, 3,345 recoveries, and seven deaths in 24 hours on Wednesday, 8 June.
The total active cases in the country stand at 28,857.
(With inputs from PTI).