The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Saturday said that air passengers will be “de-boarded” from flights if they don’t wear masks properly inside the aircraft or don’t follow “Covid-19 appropriate behaviour”.
If a passenger violates protocol despite repeated warnings then the passenger will be treated as ‘Unruly Passenger’, the aviation regulator said.
In its circular dated 13 March, the DGCA said, “It has been noticed that some travellers undertaking air journey do not adhere to ‘Covid-19 protocols’ which essentially involves wearing of masks properly that is not below the nose during all times of the journey from entering the airport for departure to exiting the airport after arrival”.
“It has also been noted that some passengers after entering the airport do not wear mask properly and also do not maintain social distance while being in the airport premises. Similarly, some passengers have been noticed not wearing their masks properly while on-board the aircraft,” the statement added.
The move comes days after the aviation regulator allowed airlines to provide concessions in airfares to customers travelling with no check-in baggage.
“As part of airline baggage policy, scheduled airlines will be allowed to offer free baggage allowance as well as zero baggage/ no check-in baggage fares,” the DGCA had said earlier.
Here are the new DGCA guidelines to be followed during air travel:
1) Passengers shall wear masks and maintain social distancing norms at all times during air travel. The mask shall not be moved below the nose except under exceptional circumstances.
2) CISF or other Police personnel deployed at the entrance of the Airport shall ensure that no one is allowed to enter the airport without wearing a mask. CASO and other supervising officers must ensure this personally.
3) The airport director or terminal manager, as applicable, must ensure that passengers are wearing masks properly and do maintain social distance at all times within the airport premises. In case, any passenger is not following the “Covid-19 Protocol”, they should be handed over to security agencies after proper warnings. If required, they may be dealt as per law.
4) Onboard the aircraft, in case any passenger does not adhere to wearing of mask properly even after repeated warnings, he/she should be de-boarded, if need be, before departure. In case, any passenger onboard an aircraft refuses to wear a mask or violates the “Covid-19 Protocol for passengers” even after repeated warnings, during the course of the flight, such passenger may be treated as “Unruly Passenger” as defined in para 3.1 of Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) Section 3 Series M Part VI (dated 8 September 2017) and the procedure in respect of handling such unruly passenger, as provided in above-mentioned CAR, shall be followed by the concerned airline.
Year’s biggest Covid spike
Meanwhile, India on Saturday reported its biggest daily spike in coronavirus cases of the year, with 24,882 new infections as a resurgence since last month continues.
The fresh Covid-19 infections mark the highest 24-hour figure since 19 December last year, boosting the caseload of 11.33 million, now third after the United States and Brazil, which has overtaken India.
India’s Covid-19 deaths rose by 140 to 158,446, compared to an average of about 100 since early February.
The union government is running a nationwide vaccination drive aiming to inoculate a fifth of the country’s 1.3 billion people by August.