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Resuming flight services: No hand luggage, no meals on-board, age limits on flying could be new norms

Union Minister for Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri on May 20 announced that domestic flight operations will resume in a calibrated manner from May 25 onward.

May 28, 2020 / 09:24 PM IST

No hand luggage, restricted travel for those above the age of 80 and suspension of meals and on-board sales, these are some of the guidelines being considered by the government as it prepares to re-open skies for flights.

Union Minister for Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri on May 20 announced that domestic flight operations will resume in a calibrated manner from May 25 onward. The standard operating procedure (SOP) for the movement of passengers is expected to be out soon.

Read More | Domestic flights to resume operations starting May 25: Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri

The domestic civil aviation operations are thus set to recommence a few days before the ongoing lockdown ends on May 31.

Industry executives had earlier said the Ministry of Civil Aviation had asked airlines for suggestions on the standard operating procedure, once flights resume. These SOPs are for the movement of passengers inside the terminal, boarding, and in-flight services. These will ensure social distancing and hygiene.


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"The SOP is detailed and will have important instructions for all stakeholders - airport operators, airlines and passengers," a senior executive from the industry told Moneycontrol.

Passengers, for instance, may be asked to download the Aarogya Setu app and will need to wear masks, gloves and even cover their shoes. If they don't have these, they may be required to buy them. Passengers may risk being denied boarding if they don't wear personal protection equipment.

The SoPs

There are some SOPs for passengers that were being considered:

  1. Register on the Aarogya Setu app. You will not be allowed entry if the app doesn't show 'green.'

  2. Give priority to web check-in.

  3. In the first phase, only web check-in may be allowed.

  4. Boarding gates will open one hour before departure.

  5. Check-in baggage could be restricted to one.

For airlines:

  1. Crew pairing. The same set of crew to be rostered.

  2. Check-in counters could be opened three hours before departure.

  3. To do a secondary temperature check at boarding gates.

  4. No hot meals on board.

  5. No magazine, or newspapers.

  6. The last few rows to be kept empty.


    For airport operators:

    1. Not to allow visitors into terminal/forecourt area.
    2. Use of open-air ventilation wherever possible instead of central air- conditioning. Wherever, the same is not avoidable, change in air circulation every six hours. Filters to be replaced frequently.
    3. Dis-infecting touchpoints every 30 minutes.
    4. All trolleys to be disinfected.

    5. Markings and seat separations to maintain social distancing.

(This copy was first published on May 12 and has been updated with the latest details.)

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Prince Mathews Thomas heads the corporate bureau of Moneycontrol. He has been covering the business world for 16 years, having worked in The Hindu Business Line, Forbes India, Dow Jones Newswires, The Economic Times, Business Standard and The Week. A Chevening scholar, Prince has also authored The Consolidators, a book on second generation entrepreneurs.
first published: May 12, 2020 06:13 pm
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