Friday, May 14, 2021

New travel regulations catch many flyers on the wrong foot

Pune: The new regulations announced by the state government, which mandate a negative RT-PCR report not older than 48 hours for flyers coming into Maharashtra, has caught many travellers off guard.The regulations, released on Thursday, said that any person entering the state by any mode of transport needed to have the negative RT-PCR report. “All restrictions that have been made applicable to persons arriving from places of ‘sensitive origin’, as per the earlier order (April 18), will be applicable to anyone arriving from any part of the country into the state,” the order stated.

Pune airport director Kuldeep Singh confirmed the change in regulation. Pune airport sees 30 flight movements on weekdays.

Earlier, passengers arriving from states apart from Delhi, Rajasthan, Kerala, Goa, Gujarat and Uttarakhand needed to have an RT-PCR negative report not older than 72 hours. Sources at the airport said that the changes have added to the pressure on passengers. Pune airport has direct flights coming in from Patna, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Bhopal, among other cities.

“Instructions pertaining to the two changes are being shared with the airlines concerned so that they can further inform their flyers. The airport has a swab collection facility in the arrival area for those not having the report. We expect many flyers without reports older than 48 hours in the next few days,” another airport official said.

Passenger traffic at the airport has drastically reduced to 1,400 from 2,500, each day.

Shiva Kumar, who plans to travel from Bhopal to Pune on business next week, is quite confused by the new regulation. “It is less than a week before I travel. How am I supposed to get an RT-PCR negative report? I am worried as no lab will give me a report in time. Although there is a testing facility at the Pune airport, it just adds to the hassle as I might have to wait for long. I hope I will be allowed to board the flight because many airlines are not allowing boarding if a flyer doesn’t have the report,” said Kumar.

14/05/21 Joy Sengupta/Times of India

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