Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Bangalore airport to refuse boarding or evict passengers without mask inside terminal building

New Delhi: The Bangalore airport management has told TOI it will either not allow boarding of flights to passengers inside the terminal building who refuse to wear masks despite being requested to do so, or evict them from the terminal building.

While violators outside terminal building will be fined Rs 250 each.

Bangalore International Airport Ltd’s (BIAL) decision came hours after the government on Tuesday warned Covid norm violators at airports will face police action and may also be fined at some places.

Union aviation minister H S Puri on Tuesday warned the government is “moving in direction of punitive action by police against passengers who don’t comply.”

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has directed all airport operators to explore “taking punitive action, such as levy of spot fines… so as to serve a deterrent for violation of Covid-19 protocol.”

Following this directive, a BIAL spokesperson said the airport is constantly reminding passengers to follow all Covid norms and has constituted a dedicated team of officials to patrol the terminal to ensure passengers wear a mask properly.

“Nevertheless, if passengers refuse to wear masks, or do not cooperate with the task force, we will initiate punitive action — including not allowing them to board their flight, or even evicting such passengers from the terminal. BIAL is determined to ensure COVID-19 protocols.”

About the Rs 250-fine levied as per Karnataka state rules on mask-rule violators in public places, she said, “So far, 16 people in the airport premises (outside terminal building) have been fined for not adhering to the government order.”

Aviation authorities’ action comes after the regulator carried surprise checks at several airports in recent days.

“During surveillance of some airports, (found) compliance is not satisfactory,” a DGCA circular issued Tuesday directing airport operators to ensure everyone follows Covid norms of properly wearing masks and social distancing.

A Mumbai airport spokesperson said, “In light of the latest DGCA order, (it) will strategise with all relevant stakeholders and adopt any relevant measures to safeguard the health and safety of passengers and personnel at the airport.”

Delhi and Hyderabad airports says their experience so far has been violators “comply with the protocol on being reminded.”

30/03/21 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

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