Passengers Who Don't Wear Masks Can Be Removed From Flight

The civil aviation regulator DGCA today said passengers who refuse to comply can be de-boarded ahead of take-off or treated as unruly passengers. The personnel of the CISF will be in charge of enforcing masks.

Passengers Who Don't Wear Masks Can Be Removed From Flight

The lack of masks at airports and in flights has been made actionable again as Covid numbers started climbing in parts of the country. The civil aviation regulator DGCA today said passengers who refuse to comply can be de-boarded ahead of take-off or treated as unruly passengers. The personnel of the CISF will be in charge of enforcing masks.

The fresh DGCA guidelines came days after the Delhi High Court ordered a tough line against passengers who refuse to comply with Covid safety measures.

In its order today, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation said: "The Airline shall ensure that in case any passenger does not adhere to instructions even after repeated warnings, he/she should be de-boarded, if need be, before departure." In case any passenger on board an aircraft refuses to wear mask or violates the "COVID-19 Protocol for passengers" even after repeated warnings, during the course of the flight, such passenger may be treated as "Unruly Passenger."

Airport operators have been asked to increase announcements and surveillance. Cases of refusal to wear masks can be dealt with fine or the passengers can be handed over to security agencies to take action as per law, the DGCA order read.

In its order of June 3, the court called for strict action, observing that the pandemic is not over. If the passenger refuses to follow protocol despite reminders, action should be taken under health ministry or DGCA guidelines.

They can be physically removed, put on a "no-fly" list or be handed over to security agencies for further action, the court said, responding to a petition filed on the experience of a sitting judge of the high court in a domestic flight.

"The issuance of said order, in our view, is the right step since the pandemic has not abated and keeps springing up its ugly head," the court added.

On Tuesday, Maharashtra recorded 1,881 fresh cases of coronavirus over a 24-hour period -- 81 per cent more than the previous day and highest since February 18 -- and reported one case of BA5 variant, the state health department said. Mumbai alone accounted for 1,242 new cases, almost double the Monday's count.

.