Friday, June 19, 2020

COVID-19 cases in domestic flights: 0.03% or 341 passengers test positive till June 15

Nearly 0.03% of total domestic passengers who flew between May 25 and June 15 were found positive for COVID-19, government data reviewed by CNBC-TV18 showed.

The passengers were tested by respective state health authorities at arrivals. It is also important to note that while several states have mandated compulsory COVID-19 testing for all arriving passengers, many states are testing only those passengers who are symptomatic.

A total of 341 passengers tested positive for COVID-19 out of more than 12.4 lakh passengers who travelled on domestic flights between May 25 and June 15.

The percentage is expected to bring some relief to passengers, airlines and other stakeholders as multiple steps starting from the check-in point to the flight and until the arrival, have been implemented to ensure social distancing, hygiene and to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.

So far, there has been no evidence of transmission of the infection on a flight. While all airlines are already providing a face shield, mask and gloves to passengers before boarding, recently, DGCA has also asked airlines to provide a PPE suit to the passenger occupying the middle seat to ensure better safety.

As per the Ministry of Civil Aviation data, nearly 12.4 lakh passengers have flown between May 25 and June 15 and total number of departures stood at 13,554.

IndiGo, which has the largest market share of nearly 49%, has reported a total of 186 passengers who tested positive during health check-up at destination airport for COVID-19 during these 22 days, data reviewed showed. To put things into perspective, IndiGo, being the largest player, is likely to have flown around 6 lakh passengers. Hence, 186 passengers would most likely translate into around 0.03% of total domestic traffic handled by the airline.

As per information reviewed by CNBC-TV18, Vistara, the full service carrier, has seen 17 such passengers who later tested positive for COVID-19. National carrier Air India and its regional arm Alliance Air have seen a total of 36 passengers who tested positive for COVID-19 in the domestic flights flown between May 25 and June 15.

“Vistara has been receiving information from various state health authorities of some of our passengers having been tested positive for COVID-19 since the resumption of domestic operations. We are adhering to laid down guidelines and SOPs in this regard, as health and safety of our staff and passengers remain our topmost priority," a Vistara spokesperson said, in a response to CNBC-TV18's query.

A total of 15 passengers who travelled via budget carrier GoAir, which resumed operations on June 1, were later tested positive for COVID-19.

The data shows that air travel remains the safest medium of transportation, GoAir spokesperson said.

As per information reviewed by CNBC-TV18, out of the total passengers travelled by SpiceJet between May 25 and June 15, a total of 60 later tested positive for COVID-19.
19/06/20 CNBC TV18

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