One check-in bag to fare control: Government issues guidelines for domestic flight operations from May 25

Updated: May 21, 2020, 15:46 IST | PTI | New Delhi

Boarding for a flight will commence 60 minutes before departure and the boarding gate will be closed 20 minutes before departure, the ministry said

Air India flight overflying in the blue sky over Mumbai during nationwide lockdown. Picture/Satej Shinde
Air India flight overflying in the blue sky over Mumbai during nationwide lockdown. Picture/Satej Shinde

A day after announcing the resumption of domestic commercial passenger flights from May 25, the Civil Aviation Ministry on Thursday issued detailed guidelines for airlines, airports, passengers and other stakeholders on issues ranging from control on air fares to restrictions on number of bags. The ministry said it will prescribe lower and upper limit on air fares and airlines will have to adhere to it "during the period of COVID-19 pandemic".

"On the day of commencement (May 25), limited operations (about one-third) would be permitted," it said.
It said passengers will have to report at the airport two hours prior to their flight's scheduled departure time and only those who have done web check-in will be allowed to enter the terminal building.

Only one check-in bag would be allowed and airlines will not provide any meal services in flights, the ministry said.  Boarding for a flight will commence 60 minutes before departure and the boarding gate will be closed 20 minutes before departure, it said.

All scheduled commercial passenger flight operations have been suspended since March 25, when the Modi government announced the nationwide lockdown to combat the coronavirus pandemic. Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had announced on Wednesday that domestic flights will resume from May 25 in a calibrated manner. The guidelines said the passengers should expect a slower process at the airport and avoid last-minute arrival.

"Passengers, before entering the terminal, to ensure wearing of protective gear, as per the prevailing requirement. He will continue to wear the mask throughout the journey," it said. It said the passengers should not travel if they are staying in a containment zone. The passengers who have been tested positive for COVID-19 will not be allowed to travel.

"The passengers are expected to certify the status of their health through the Aarogya Setu app or a self declaration form," said the ministry's guidelines. Vulnerable persons such as very elderly with co-morbidities, pregnant ladies, passengers with ailments are advised to avoid air travel, it said.

Airports have been advised to earmark areas for isolation and COVID-19 testing for suspected passengers. Airports should also have separate areas for change of PPE (personal protective equipment) gear by the staff using it. The guidelines said the airports would have to ensure easy availability of hand sanitisers at all entry points and also to be available at various touch points.

All food and beverages (F&B) and retail outlets to be opened with COVID-19 precautions. Take-away, digital payments, self-ordering booths at F&B and retail outlets to be encouraged to prevent crowding, it said.  Mats or carpets soaked with bleach (sodium hypochlorite solution) would be placed at the entrance for disinfecting shoes, it said.

The guidelines said passengers are expected to follow social distancing and sanitisation at all times from arrival to departure.

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