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Coronavirus | AAI mulls limited flights with 30% capacity post lockdown

Stranded foreigners waiting for their return home on Special flights at Chennai Airport. File

Stranded foreigners waiting for their return home on Special flights at Chennai Airport. File   | Photo Credit: B. VELANKANNI RAJ

Airport officials told to ensure that passengers followed safety protocol, particularly physical distancing

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) is looking at commencing limited domestic/international flight operations with 30% capacity post COVID-19 lockdown. Airport officials have been told to ensure that the passengers followed the safety protocol, particularly physical distancing. Facilities for hand sanitising/washing would be created in as many places as possible.

In a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) circulated to all airports on Wednesday, the AAI said once the lockdown period is over, airports shall be facilitating limited domestic/ international scheduled flights in a phased manner. “To start with, may be at 30% capacity to facilitate social distancing. The operations to its original level is likely to be scaled up in gradual manner.”

Limited resources

Where there were more terminals, only one terminal would be opened for use to minimise the cleaning area considering the limited availability of material resources. “Initially it is presumed that airline operations will be limited to Tier-I cities [Metros] and some other State capitals and major Tier-II cities… limited food and beverages and retail outlets to be made available to the passengers till operations of Airlines gradually increase. Initially they should serve tea/coffee etc. with take away snacks in boxes. As part of this limited restaurant facilities to be permitted inside security hold area,” the guidelines said.

Airport authorities were told to coordinate with the State governments/local administration to ensure availability of public transport/private taxies for connectivity to the airport for passengers and staff. Spa centres/massage chair facilities would remain suspended as a safety measure. While airlines would advise passengers to reach the airport well in advance, the officials would take effective steps to ensure safe distance among passengers and staff at entry points, frisking booths, boarding gates etc.

Health screening

AAI said adequate number of doctors and paramedics should be available at airports to conduct medical screening of passengers both arriving and departing. Among other instructions were to ensure cleanliness and sanitation of the entire terminal building and public areas, including washrooms, chairs, counters, trolleys, security trays, x-ray machines, hand-rails, doors etc on a regular basis. Employees showing symptoms such as high fever, difficulty in breathing and cough should not be taken on duty. Such cases should be reported to appropriate health authorities.

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Printable version | May 27, 2020 3:18:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/single-terminals-to-fewer-number-of-food-outlets-aai-issues-guidelines-to-airports/article31463001.ece

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