PCP Pune Spl Corres 28 April 2020 : With strict restrictions and curbs in place, Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) may soon resume flight operations with Mandatory face masks for all travelers and crew, no queues for security clearance, restricted use of in-flight lavatories and a stop on all in-flight meals. Senior officials said the new rules, which have been recommended by stakeholders to the Union aviation ministry recently, may mean that it would take a little longer than usual for flyers to get through security checks.
Expecting to resume operations after May 3, the Delhi airport operator, various airlines and the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which handles airport security, came together to formalize a plan on how to handle hundreds of passengers once the airport reopens, while at the same time ensuring social distancing and high standards of sanitation to keep the Covid-19 infection from spreading.
An officer from the CISF, who did not wish to be named, said it is being planned that the moment a passenger arrives at the terminal, she will be screened for body temperature. “Only those with no symptoms of flu will be allowed into the terminal building. Those without face masks will also be denied entry,” the officer said.
It has been more than a month since India suspended all domestic flights on March 25, the first day of the 21-day nationwide lock-down, which was later extended till May 3. On March 22, the international flights to and from India had been suspended.
The CISF officer said it is planned that once the passenger arrives for security clearance, there will be no queuing up. “The passengers will be divided into batches with the help of the airline staff and there will be seating arrangements in the check-in area. The seats will be adequately separated from each other to ensure social distancing. Instead of queuing up, passengers will remain seated until they are called for security check. As planned, our men will carry out touch-free frisking using metal detectors and a safe distance will be maintained from the passenger at all times,” the officer said.
The CISF officer added that the temperature screening at the terminal entry and the newly introduced “Sit-&-Wait” rule in the security hold area (SHA) may cause a delay of five to seven minutes per passenger and therefore all passengers will need to reach the terminal well in advance and cooperate with the CISF and airport staff.
To make this possible, Delhi airport operator, DIAL, said additional seating arrangements will be made the in check-in area and markers will be put on alternate chairs to maintain a gap between passengers. PCP/DJ/ 10 45