Covid-19: India to adopt new air travel protocols

22 May 2020 (Last Updated May 22nd, 2020 12:00)

India has taken steps to adopt new air travel protocols to ensure the safety of passengers and airline staff as domestic operations are set to resume next week.

Covid-19: India to adopt new air travel protocols
Interior of Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai, India. Credit: Alex Graves from Lugano, Switzerland.

India has taken steps to adopt new air travel protocols to ensure the safety of passengers and airline staff as domestic operations are set to resume next week.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation has released a new set of guidelines devised to minimise the Covid-19 contagion risks.

According to standard operating protocols (SOPs), all passengers are required to have the Aarogya Setu app on their mobile phones, the status of which will be verified by airport security.

Physical check-in will remain suspended, while passengers with confirmed web check-in will be allowed to enter airports.

Passengers are mandated to wear protective gear, while airline crew will wear a full protective suit.

Furthermore, passengers are required to report two hours before the departure of the scheduled flight. They are also required to provide a declaration that they are eligible to travel as per the new norms and have not tested Covid-19 positive in the last two months.

They are also requested to carry minimum baggage with them. Only one check-in bag will be allowed.

During boarding, the passengers will be provided with a safety kit and will embark on the aircraft maintaining physical distancing protocols. The safety kit features surgical masks, a face shield and sanitiser.

The revised guidelines also ban on-board meal services, newspapers and magazines.

Accordingly, the airlines and airport authorities are also directed by the ministry to ensure compliance with all new guidelines.

India suspended all flights on 25 March after the government imposed a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of Covid-19.

As of 22 May, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country has crossed 119,000. The death toll has also surged to 3,599.