Coronavirus | States to clear operation of international flights

The Ministry of Civil Aviation has issued a Standard Operating Protocol (SOP) for private aircraft and charter operations on international sectors in view of COVID-19 pandemic. However, the flights would be allowed subject to the clearance from the respective State/Union Territory Governments.

The new guidelines follow the instructions of the Ministry of Home Affairs permitting private aircrafts and international charter operations to bring back many Indians who had travelled to different countries before the lockdown on various purposes - employment, tourism, business studies etc - and were stranded there.

Going by the SOP, passengers intending to undertake travel should register with the respective foreign missions giving all details prescribed by the Ministry of External Affairs. The cost of travel would be borne by the travellers or their employers/hiring firms or any other entity.

Asymptomatic only

Only asymptomatic passengers would be allowed to travel after they sign an undertaking that after landing in India, they would undergo COVID-l9 related protocols/guidelines issued by the Government of India (Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and the Ministry of External Affairs) and the State/UT Government concerned.

All passengers would be advised to download Aarogya Setu app on their mobile devices. They would also have to sign an undertaking in the format prescribed by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare furnishing information on their health status, countries/places visited in the last 28 days, place of stay in India and other contact details.

Other instructions on board were that the flight crew members should wear masks while in the cockpit/crew rest area and change their masks at regular intervals in case of long and ultra-long-haul flights. There would be no sale of any item on board in order to minimise interaction of the crew with passengers.

No entertainment

There would be no newspapers/magazines or other non-essential loose items to be carried on board. In-flight entertainment would be switched off to minimise touch on aircraft surfaces. Also, there would be no or minimum catering (pre-packed cold meals/snacks - depending on the duration of flight).

Emergency protocol

In case of an ill passenger or a passenger showing COVID-I9 symptoms such as fatigue cough, high fever etc., the passenger would be isolated from the others and a dedicated crew in complete protective gear be assigned to handle the case. A specific area of the aircraft would have to be reserved as a quarantine area for handling possible in-flight emergencies.

Asked if any request was received from any airline, a senior official in the Tamil Nadu government said no such request was received till late on Wednesday. Experts would be consulted before taking a decision on allowing international flights, the official said.

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Printable version | Aug 8, 2020 10:24:39 AM |

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