The civil aviation minister has announced a gradual resumption of domestic flights from May 25 following the easing of restrictions on interstate travel in the fourth phase of nationwide lockdown. Flying, however, will not be the same while the fight against coronavirus continues. Here is a list of possible changes governing domestic flying that may come into force once the new flying protocol is notified by the civil aviation ministry.
1. Physical distancing measures and screening are likely to be followed at the airports. Wearing of masks and maintenance of at least four-feet physical distance from co-passengers is likely to be enforced.
2. Passengers will be required to wash or sanitise their hands frequently. The bureau of civil aviation has already issued guidelines for the enhancement of admissible limit of hand sanitisers to be carried in cabin baggage.
3. A system for contact-less check-in, including web check-in, is likely to be followed.
4. The stamping of boarding passes may be suspended to reduce contact between passengers and the security staff.
5. In a draft standard operating procedures (SOPs) proposed by the civil aviation ministry for passengers, airlines and airport operators, it was suggested that cabin luggage should be barred.
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6. The draft SOPs had also suggested suspending passenger ID checks to minimise crowding at terminal gates.
7. Inside the plane, the middle seats may not be left vacant as was mooted earlier, since it may lead to an unreasonable escalation in the cost of tickets.
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8. The government may also introduce a cap on airfares to protect the consumers as a temporary measure, officials said.
9. The domestic flights are likely to resume operation to major tier-I cities initially.
10. Senior citizens aged above 80 years may not be given the nod for air travel yet.
11. Passengers may have to be quarantined as per the state government’s protocols.
12. Fliers may be advised to download the Aarogya Setu app on mobile phones
13. Guidelines facilitating the movement of passengers to the airport from different zones including containment areas are likely to be issued by the government.