Limited Flights post -lockdown: Once restrictions on passenger flights are lifted airports will facilitate limited domestic and international scheduled flights in phases and maybe at 30% capacity to facilitate social distancing, the Airport Authority of India has stated in a set of guidelines for the resumption of service post-lockdown.

“Based on the social distancing norms, airports will work out the Terminal Building capacity and forward it to CHQ so that slot allocation for the planned scheduled flights post-COVID 19 lockdowns by airline operators can be done accordingly,” the SoP (Standard Operating Procedure ) document read.

“The watch hours will continue to be limited initially and airlines should try to operate within the watch hours. However, the watch hours will be restored to original pre-COVID timings gradually once normalcy is restored.”

Flight operations to its original level are likely to be scaled up in a gradual manner, according to the government’s plan. Airline operations are likely to begin in tier-I cities first, as per the reports.

“Initially it is presumed that airline operations will be limited to Tier-I cities i.e. Metros and some of the state capitals and major Tier-II cities. The flight’s schedule may be cleared on the City Pair basis, so the origin and Destination Airports are open fully from lockdown situations,” according to the standard operating procedure for recommencement of operations at AAI Airports post lockdown.

limited food and beverages and retail outlets to be made available to the passengers till the operations of Airlines gradually increase. Initially, they should serve tea/coffee, etc. with take away snacks inboxes. As part of this limited restaurant facilities to be permitted inside the security hold area,” the guidelines said.

Airport authorities were told to coordinate with the State governments/local administration to ensure the availability of public transport/private taxies for connectivity to the airport for passengers and staff. Spa centers/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 an 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.