Domestic Flights to Resume from May 25

Here are all the guidelines you need to know
Domestic air travel will begin in India from May 25 with strict guidelines in place
Domestic air travel will begin in India from May 25 with strict guidelines in place

Domestic flights in India are set to resume from May 25 in a calibrated manner. With flights being operational again, the Airports Authority of India issued standard operating procedures to be followed. The major takeaway from the guidelines include compulsory use of the Aarogya Setu app, physical distancing and thermal screenings for all those willing to travel.

For starters, the Aarogya Setu app is mandatory for all travellers with the &lsquosafe&rsquo band indicated by the green. The availability of the app will be checked at the entry gate. In case of a non-green indication, travel will not be permitted. The app, however, is not necessary for children below 14 years of age. Mats or carpets soaked with bleach will also be placed at the entrance to disinfect shoes. Passengers will also have to reach the airport two hours before departure. However, they will be allowed into the terminal building if their flights are within four hours. All passengers also have to wear masks and gloves.

All commuting to and from the airport, for the passengers and staff, will only be permitted in personal vehicles or select authorised taxi services with restricted seating. Regular fumigation at taxi pickup and drop-off points outside airport will also be ensured. The use of trolleys will be discouraged. However, one can be provided on request for genuine reasons. Magazines or newspapers will also not be available in the terminal building/lounges.

Passengers will compulsorily have to walk through the screening zones for thermal screening at a designated place, before entering the terminal building. Airport operators have to make proper arrangements for sanitisation of luggage, both when it's received and before it is put on the conveyer belt. The check-in and security-check counters will also be covered using plexiglass. Airport staff handling people with special needs will be covered in complete protective gear. 

The passenger seating arrangement will follow physical distancing norms with clear indicators marking seats not be used. The passengers will also have to board and disembark in batches as per the seating arrangements in order to avoid contact with each other. The SOPs also mention that all airport staff handling the flight should be provided with hand sanitisers and all essential Personal Protective Equipment such as face masks, etc., as per guidelines  issued by MOHFW.

The terminals are to be disinfected frequently through fogging/spraying or physical mopping at regular intervals. The guidelines also recommend the use of open-air ventilation inside the airports wherever possible, instead of central air-conditioning. 

Passengers and airport staff will have access to hand sanitisers at various locations. Airport operators will have to ensure cleanliness and sanitisation of every nook & corner of the terminal building and public areas including washrooms, chairs, counters, railings, doors, lifts, escalators, etc., before arrival of the flight and after the last passenger leaves the terminal building.

Flights in India were suspended in late March, after the country went into a lockdown to avoid the spread of novel coronavirus.

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