New rules making physical distancing, the Aarogya Setu app on mobiles and thermal screening a must for entering airports were announced today, a day after the government announced that domestic flights, stopped due to the coronavirus lockdown, would resume from Monday.
According to rules put out by the Airports Authority of India (AAI), passengers must compulsorily walk through a thermal screening zone before entering the airport terminal building and all have to have the Aarogya Setu app on their mobiles. The app will not be needed for children below 14.
Some of the new SOPs to be followed at airports are:
- Passengers have to be thermal screened and must have Aarogya Setu on their mobiles, except children below 14. If they don't show "green" or do not have the government contact tracing app, they will not be allowed in
- Passengers should reach the airport two hours before departure
- Passengers will be allowed into the terminal building if their flights are within four hours
- State governments and administrations have to ensure public transport and private taxis for passengers and airline crew
- Only personal vehicles or select cab services will be allowed to take passengers and staff to the airport or from it.
- All passengers have to wear masks and gloves
- For physical distancing in passenger seating areas, chairs to be taped off or marked
- All staff should have hand sanitisers and Personal Protective Equipment as directed by the home ministry
- Trolleys will not be allowed in the arrival or departure sections, except for special cases, for which they will be disinfected.
- Airport operators should make arrangements for sanitizing baggage before entry
- All entry gates of the terminal will be opened to avoid crowding
- Social distancing marks or stickers at a distance of at least a metre will be provided at the entry gates, screening zones and terminals.
- Mats or carpets soaked with bleach will be placed at the entrance to disinfect shoes
- Counters with Plexiglas or face shields for staff wherever there is interaction with passengers
- Newspapers or magazines will not be provided in the terminal buildings or lounges
- Employees with high fever, difficulty in breathing or cough will not be allowed entry into the airport
- When flights land, passengers will be allowed to leave the plane in batches, sequentially
Yesterday, Union Minister of Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri tweeted that domestic passenger flights would resume "in a calibrated manner".
Flights were stopped in late March, when the country went into lockdown to slow the spread of coronavirus.
The government has not indicated when international travel will restart.
Most airports are already functional as cargo flights, those for medical evacuation and special flights to repatriate Indians stranded abroad have been operating during the lockdown.