The Ministry of Civil Aviation on Thursday issued new guidelines for domestic flight operations from May 25, shortly after the Airports Authority of India released standard operating procedures, PTI reported. The Centre said about a third of operations will be permitted when flights resume across the country from next week, adding that air travellers will have to web check-in before reaching the airport.

Only one check-in bag and a cabin baggage will be allowed, meal service will not be provided on board, the ministry said. It also advised vulnerable persons, including the elderly, pregnant women and passengers with health problems to avoid air travel.

Domestic flights have been grounded since March 25 after the government banned air travel to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The guidelines were issued a day after the Centre said flights will resume from next week in a calibrated manner.

These are the new finalised guidelines for flight operations:

  • Maintain physical distancing and minimum touch.
  • Passenger to certify the status of his/her health through the Aarogya Setu app or a self-declaration form.
  • The airlines shall ensure that the boarding pass is issued only after the passenger confirms to the above declaration.  
  • Use of digital payment methods.
  • Only one check-in bag and one cabin bag allowed.  
  • Vulnerable persons such as the elderly, pregnant ladies, passengers with ailments are advised to avoid air travel.  
  • Only web-check in allowed, baggage tag to be printed online and should be attached to luggage.
  • Report to airport two hours before flights.
  • Passengers must wear face mask.
  • Passenger to travel in an authorised taxi/personal vehicle following the norms specified by the home ministry.
  • No passengers from containment zones allowed.
  • If a passenger who is not permitted to fly, undertakes an air journey she/he shall be liable for penal action.

Other guidelines to be followed at the airport:

  • Passenger should go through thermal screening.
  • Passenger should get their temperature checked and display the status of Aarogya Setu app to the staff at the entry gate. If they don’t have Aarogya Setu, they need to download it right there. Children below 14 years do not need to download the application.
  • Baggage receipt upon drop off at counter will be confirmed via SMS to passenger’s phone. They should also avoid using baggage trolley.
  • Bag must be dropped off at least one hour before flight.  
  • Chairs marked “not for use” should not be occupied.
  • Passengers to collect safety kit, mask, face shield, sanitiser near the boarding gate.
  • Maintain social distancing at all places, follow markers and signs for this.
  • Security staff will practice “minimum touch”.
  • Passengers need to dispose of all the biohazardous material like used masks, gloves, tissues in the yellow-coloured disposable bins or bags placed at strategic locations at the airport.

Inside the aircraft:

  • Passengers should strictly follow hygiene and sanitation. Face to face interaction to be minimised.
  • They also need to minimise use of toilets and avoid any non-essential movement in the aisles. No queuing at the toilets and only one companion for children and the elderly would be allowed.
  • No meal service will be provided in the aircraft. Water bottle to be made available in the galley area or on the seats.
  • Eatables not to be consumed during the flight.
  • No newspaper or magazine will be available, no onboard sale of any item.
  • If the passenger feels uncomfortable, fatigued or has respiratory distress, it should be brought to the immediate notice of the crew.

Airport to destination rules:

  • The disembarkation from the airlines would be sequential.
  • To disembark, passengers to strictly follow physical distancing guidelines.
  • Sanitation should be maintained at the arrival gate, aerobridges, coaches, jet ladders, ramps etc.
  • Trolleys in the arrival area to be used sparingly.

Baggage collection rules:

  • Upon arrival, passengers to wait and follow physical distancing rules for baggage to arrive.
  • Transit passengers will not be allowed to come out of the transit area.