Wednesday, April 29, 2020

AAI prepares guidelines for flight resumption; expects to start with 30% domestic flights

New Delhi: The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has finalised its standard operating procedure for restoring schedule commercial flights as soon as the go-ahead for the game comes from the government. The state-run authority, which handles air traffic control services across India, expects 30% scheduled flights to get operational in the beginning between big cities and then the same will gradually be scaled up. To begin with, flights could operate within a certain time with the same getting increased as things unfold.

“lnitially it is presumed airline operations will be limited to tier-l cities, metros, and some of the state capitals & major tier-ll cities. Flight schedule may be cleared on a city-pair basis so that the origin and destination airports are open… At airports with more than one terminal, initially only one terminal shall be used and larger terminal can be scaled down to reduce cleaning area considering limited availability of material resources,” the SOP says.

On screening of passengers, it says sufficient number of doctors and paramedics should be available for screening bth arriving and departing passengers. “Sufficient number of health declaration forms shall be made available for all the departing and arriving passengers at the departure and arrivar gates in coordination with airlines along with facilities such as writing desks with writing instruments. Arrangements should be made for inflight announcements and distribution of health declaration forms on board the aircraft to avoid delay due to fillrng up on arrival.”

“A dedicated triage area/isolation area needs to be setup with primary medical facility at both aniving and departing terminal for confirmed or suspected corona patients. Dedicated medicated staff should also be there to provide basic health care.”

International operations are also expected to restart in a similar phased manner like domestic whenever permitted by the government.

“Alternate check-in counters may be used to avoid congestion near counters. Queue at counters shall be managed by airlines staff to manage sufficient distance among passengers. Also, check-in counters may be opened well in advance to stagger the crowd,” the SOP says.

Retail and food & beverage outlets will also open with time as flights increase. “lnitially they should serve tea/coffee with take away snacks in boxes. As part of this limited restaurant facilities to be permitted inside security hold area, as take away facilities and gradually as sit out facilities with social distancing norms. At bar cum restaurant facilities, alcoholic beverages should not be permitted unless it is permitted by the local administration of associated city/state,” it says.
29/04/20 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

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