Hyderabad: From PPE clad air hostesses to unmanned counters, air travelers shall have to embrace a new set of flying rules in the time of COVID.
Several instructions have been passed down to CISF, BCAS, AAI, airlines to brace up for the resumption of the flight operations.
Vande Bharat International rescue flights are being used as dry runs to test the various equipment and systems which have been put in place to tackle the COVID 19.
The new normal for passengers will involve contact-free and social distancing measures. The passenger will have to report at the airport two hours before the flight departure. Ensuring download of aarogya setu App on their phones, filling up a self-declaration form regarding health status, and any previous COVID 19 related isolation/infection, has been made mandatory.
Passengers should preferably bring printed or electronic boarding passes with them. Face masks will be compulsory. Upon reaching the airport they will have to stand in queues outside the departure gate in boxes or circles drawn on the floor at a distance of 4-6 feet from each other.
There will be hand sanitizer kiosks where everyone will have to sanitize their hands. On approaching the gate, body temperature will be checked with a distant thermal meter or screener. Anyone having more than a normal temperature will be asked to leave the queue and referred to the health desk.
There will a camera to which the passenger will have to present his/her ticket and ID. The CISF personnel will see their enlarged version on a tablet or webcam at a social distance of at least one meter or across a see-through plastic cover and crosscheck the details.
If reports are to be true then the passenger will be allowed to carry only one piece of check-in luggage of fewer than 20 kgs and no hand baggage at all, except hand sanitizer weighing less than 350 ML, essential medicines and absolute essentials in a small pouch/bag.
Check-in kiosks shall not be used. The airlines will be using alternate counters to maintain a safe distance. On unmanned counters, the ticket scanner, boarding pass printer, and bag tag printer will be placed and passengers have to collect the printout themselves.
If manned, counters will have glass separations. The passenger waiting in predawn boxes/circles, upon call will approach the counter, show the ticket under the scanner, and place his /her baggage on the weighing belt. The boarding pass and bag tag shall have to be fixed on the baggage by the passenger. In case of any issue, the airline staff will help and guide.
At the pre-embarkation security check area, the passenger will have to again lineup in pre-drawn circles/boxes, voluntarily remove all metallic items, and place them in the tray. Special focus will be laid on watching any beeps emanating from the DFMDs as the passenger walks through.
There shall be no stamping of boarding cards henceforth and they will be digitally monitored by well-placed HD CCTVs for this purpose. The CISF frisker will be wearing a PPE suit, his HHMD will be attached to a small rod/pole, to do the frisking. The passenger will be asked to turn around for frisking on the backside. Women passengers will be similarly frisked in the ladies’ line/box.
Once past the security check, the passenger will be able to sit in prearranged, marked seats at the boarding gates or even in the eateries and shops. The order for food will be through contactless menu-ordering-payment methodology and its delivery also will be at designated points /seats in sealed tamper-proof packaging.
Boarding will be done one hour before departure and not in a rushed manner. The vestibules or buses which transport passengers to the aircraft will be sanitized at least 2-3 times a day.
Inside the aircraft, the passengers may be greeted by PPE clad air hostesses/hosts. A sanitizer will be offered first up and serving of food on a flight will be only in prepackaged boxes and the minimum contact principle will be followed. Wearing masks all the time will be mandatory.
“The CISF, along with the airport operator, will be playing a key role in airport functioning in the post corona scenario. Given the infections spreading to the CISF personnel on touchpoint duties, our entire focus will be on the principles of minimum touch and minimum exposure for both the staff and the passengers,” said CV Anand, Inspector General of CISF.
Anand noted that contactless and touch-free processes, and leveraging technology has been developed by the various airport managements throughout the country as per the resources.
“I am sure enlightened passengers will also cooperate fully. The past two months of lockdown have been spent in keeping the CISF staff physically fit and mentally alert and to take precautions in every duty post and living arracks/accommodation,” he said.