Domestic Flight Resumption: After resuming passenger trains, the Narendra Modi-led government has started work to resume domestic flights, but in a staggered manner. Earlier on Wednesday, the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security issued a circular asking authorities to do away with stamping boarding passes of flyers at airports in wake of COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed lives of over 2,600 people across the country so far. Also Read - 'Unlock 1': Thermal Screening at Entrance, No Physical Offering | Here's SOP For Religious Places Ahead of Opening on June 8
“In view of the prevailing situation of COVID-19 pandemic and countermeasures being taken to contain its spread by touch/contact, it has been decided to dispense with the procedure of stamping the passengers’ Boarding Pass…after completion of pre-embarkation security check of the concerned passenger, till further orders,” the circular said. Also Read - 'Unlock 1': '6-ft Distance, Masks, Aarogya Setu App Mandatory For Employees,' Centre Issues SOP For Workplace
Moreover, the Centre has also released a set of draft standard operating procedures with airlines, airports and ground handling companies and sought their suggestions on various measures including mandatorily downloading of Aarogya Setu app, compulsory web check-in, increasing of passenger reporting time at airports, no meal for short flights. These steps are being considered in a bid to maintain social distancing among passengers and airline, airport staff. Also Read - Social Distancing, Thermal Screening: These Are Centre's Fresh SOPs For Restaurants, Hotels, Hospitality Units
Speaking to the Indian Express, a government spokesperson for Civil Aviation Ministry said that a slew of suggestions have been received from airlines and airports. “Based on them, a final SOP will be issued soon”, he added.
While the civil aviation ministry was awaiting a green signal from the MHA, the Centre has also asked states for its views on resumption of the flight operations amid the pandemic. Talking to the daily, an official said that it is essential for the Centre to take state government in loop as most of the major traffic centres are still in red or orange zones (containment zones). However, he asserted that the government may give nod for the some of the green zone districts.
Elaborating further, the officer also informed that initially only Air India will be allowed to start domestic repatriation flights on the lines of the international Vande Bharat mission. He stated that the Air India will fly around 30,000 passengers from 31 countries in the second phase.