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Coronavirus impact | You may need a doctor’s certificate to board a flight

A technical committee is formulating SOPs for passengers and airline staff for when flight operations resume. Wearing gloves, face masks and requiring a doctor’s certificate may become the new normal.

April 28, 2020 / 09:20 PM IST

Besides using gloves, face masks and disposable caps, you may require a doctor’s certificate while boarding a flight after the nationwide lockdown ends.

According to a report by The Economic Times, a technical committee comprising doctors, bureaucrats and officials from airports and airlines will soon discuss measures to ensure passenger safety after normalcy returns.

The committee is to formulate standard operating procedures (SOP) for passengers and airline staff.

While the current nationwide lockdown is scheduled to end on May 3, it is widely believed that restrictions will remain in hotspots and sensitive areas of the country.

While other parts of the country, such as ‘green zones’, will witness some easing of restrictions, commercial air travel is unlikely to be permitted till June, news reports suggest.

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Also read: A glimpse of what air travel will be like after lockdown ends

Global airlines such as UK-based budget carrier EasyJet is reportedly planning to keep the middle seats empty, at least when flight operations resume. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had issued a similar guideline before flights were grounded in India.

Some of the other airlines plan to make their crew wear full protective gear including face masks, goggles and gowns.

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A Bloomberg report has suggested that health checkups and temperature checks are likely to become the new normal once flight operations resume.

The report adds that some low-cost, short-hop routes could cease to operate.

However, The Economic Times report suggests that the technical committee in India may allow airlines to book passengers on middle seats.

“Keeping the middle seat vacant will not help achieve the six feet social distancing norm between two people as it allows only two feet space between two passengers. Hence the focus now is on mandating protective gear and certificates to ensure safe and coronavirus-free flights,” the report quotes a senior official as saying.

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first published: Apr 28, 2020 09:06 am