AAI issues SOP for domestic flights’ resumption; Aarogya Setu not mandatory for children below 14

New Delhi: The Airports Authority of India (AAI) issued a standard operating procedure (SOP) to airport operators on Thursday for recommencement of domestic flights from May 25 onwards, saying Aarogya Setu app is not mandatory for children below 14 years of age.
However, all other departing passengers must be registered on the app on their mobile phones and it will be verified by the CISF or the airport staff at the entry gate of the terminal building, the AAI said.
“Passengers shall compulsorily walk through screening zone for thermal screening at a designated place in the city side before entering the terminal building,” the AAI said in its SOP, which has been accessed by PTI.
It said airport operators must make appropriate arrangements for sanitisation of a passenger’s baggage before his or her entry into the terminal building.
The AAI manages more than 100 airports across the country. However, major airports like Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad are managed by private companies.
“Passengers should reach airport two hours before the scheduled time of departure and the passengers who have departure in next four hours will only be allowed to enter the terminal building,” said the SOP, dated May 20.
All scheduled commercial passenger flights have been suspended since March 25 when the nationwide lockdown came into force to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had announced on Wednesday that domestic flight services would resume from May 25 onwards in a calibrated manner.
Traffic in kerb area or city side or car parking area should be strictly monitored in coordination with the traffic police or the CISF to prevent congestion and maintain social distancing, as per the SOP.
“Use of trolleys to be discouraged in departure or arrival area. However, select few passengers who require trolley due to genuine reasons will be provided on request basis only,” it stated.
The AAI instructed airport operators that all entry gates of the terminal building must be kept open in order to avoid crowding.
Mats or carpets soaked with bleach – sodium hypochlorite solution – must be placed at the entrance of the terminal building to disinfect shoes, the SOP said.
“For passengers with special needs, unaccompanied minor, etc, the handling stuff must be in full protection gear with pre-sanitised wheelchairs,” it noted.
Newspapers and magazines must not be provided anywhere in the terminal building, the SOP said, adding that all food, beverages and retail outlets must be opened with proper COVID-19 precautions.
The AAI instructed airports to “use open air ventilation instead of central air conditioning”.
“At boarding gates, passengers should be allowed to board in batches as per seating arrangement…to avoid crisscrossing inside the aircraft,” the SOP said.
According to senior government officials, the government is likely to put a floor price and a cap price on all airfares in order to avoid predatory pricing and high ticket fares.
Moreover, they said the government is likely to permit only around 30 per cent of domestic flights initially.
Puri did not mention on Tuesday from when international passenger flights would resume.

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