You are here: Home » Current Affairs » News » National
Business Standard

How flights will operate after the lockdown is lifted

The Standard Operating Procedure being formulated by the DGCA will make it mandatory for airlines to keep all middle seats and the last three rows empty to minimise contact

Topics
domestic flights | international flights | Lockdown

Sukanya Roy  |  New Delhi 

The government is likely to open up the skies in a phased manner as and when the is lifted, officials aware of the plan said. The model is going to be followed for both domestic and . However, except Air India, all other are taking bookings on all sectors starting 15 April, as the direction issued by aviation regulator had banned flights till April 14.

India suspended domestic and international commercial passenger flights from midnight on March 24 for 21 days. However, cargo flights, medical evacuation flights and offshore helicopter operations were allowed during the period.

Resumption of will be considered on a case-by-case basis after India's ends and will depend on which countries they are coming from, Civil Aviation Minister said on Thursday. "Any incoming flights to bring Indians back home will have to await the lifting of the lockdown," he told reporters at a press conference.

“The top 10 in terms of passenger movement may be opened first, followed by those in other cities, and at last international travel,” a government official aware of the matter said. The idea behind this is to prevent crowding at and enable authorities to look out for passengers who might test positive for and take swift action accordingly. The top 10 in India include the four metro cities and Pune, Kochi, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Goa.

The official said many countries have voluntarily sealed their borders, so would have to adhere to that. For instance, London has announced a flight ban till end of April. The US is also planning to ban as cases in that country have been rising exponentially. "The government will take a holistic view. When conditions become safe in other countries, we can start flights," civil aviation secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola said at a press conference held on Zoom, a videoconferencing app.

Now, the Standard Operating Procedure being formulated by the (DGCA) will make it mandatory for to keep all middle seats and the last three rows empty to minimise contact. This means in a 186-seater Airbus A320 jet, that the country’s largest airline IndiGo flies, only 106 seats can be sold.

“While keeping the middle seat empty is important to ensure social distancing inside the aircraft, the last three rows will have to be kept empty in order to isolate a passenger if he or she develops symptoms mid-air,” said a government official.

Airlines will also be asked to minimise on-board services in order to prevent close contact between cabin crew and passengers. Pre-packaged dry foods will be kept in passenger seats prior to boarding, while airlines may also encourage flyers to carry their own food. In order to prevent crowding at airports, the regulator is mulling drastic measures, including a ban of sales.

Other measures will include boarding of only three rows at a time to prevent the formation of queues near the boarding gate or aerobridge. Airports will have to ensure two-metre distancing during check-in and security check. will also be asked to make thermal checking of passengers compulsory and limit customer touchpoints. “Thermal screening of all passengers will be there for some time until the virus is declared controlled. Airports will be asked to take suitable steps,” a health ministry official said. Airlines will have to follow the guidelines till the World Health Organization gives an all-clear signal. Estimates suggest that the aviation industry may have to grapple with the stringent rules for several months after the services resume.

Industry executives argue that such stringent measures will make it unviable for the airlines to operate and may logically push up fares significantly. However, with low demand for travel, any drastic increase may be a challenge.

This is the first time India has effected a total shutdown of air transport. A similar action was taken by the US after the terror attack on the World Trade Centre on September 11, 2001. The Covid-19 pandemic sent global air passenger demand plunging 14 per cent in February, marking the steepest decline in traffic since the 9/11 attacks in 2001, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Thursday.

Aviation consultancy CAPA on Wednesday projected initial losses of 3.3 to 3.6 billion dollars for the Indian aviation industry in the first quarter of FY2021 in the eventuality of all air services including domestic remain shut by June due to the pandemic. Falling demand would leave Indian carriers with 200 to 250 surplus planes over the next 6 to 12 months, it said.

MONTHLY STAR

Business Standard Digital

Business Standard Digital Monthly Subscription
199.00  
subscribe
Complete access to the premium product
Convenient - Pay as you go
Pay using Amex/Master/VISA Credit Cards and VISA Debit Cards Only
Auto renewed (subject to your card issuer's permission)
Cancel any time in the future
Requires personal information

What you get?

ON BUSINESS STANDARD DIGITAL

  • Unlimited access to all the content on any device through browser or app.
  • Exclusive content, features, opinions and comment – hand-picked by our editors, just for you.
  • Pick 5 of your favourite companies. Get a daily email with all the news updates on them.
  • Track the industry of your choice with a daily newsletter specific to that industry.
  • Stay on top of your investments. Track stock prices in your portfolio.
  • 18 years of archival data.

NOTE :

  • The product is a monthly auto renewal product.
  • Cancellation Policy: You can cancel any time in the future without assigning any reasons, but 48 hours prior to your card being charged for renewal. We do not offer any refunds.
  • To cancel, communicate from your registered email id and send the email with the cancellation request to assist@bsmail.in. Include your contact number for speedy action. Requests mailed to any other ID will not be acknowledged or actioned upon.

SMART ANNUAL

Business Standard Digital
Subscribe Now and get 12 months Free

Business Standard Premium Digital - 12 Months + 12 Months Free
1799.00
subscribe
Subscribe for 12 months and get 12 months free.
Single Seamless Sign-up to Business Standard Digital
Convenient - Once a year payment
Pay using an instrument of your choice -all Credit and Debit Cards, Net Banking, Payment Wallets, and UPI
Exclusive Invite to select Business Standard events

What you get

ON BUSINESS STANDARD DIGITAL

  • Unlimited access to all content on any device through browser or app.
  • Exclusive content, features, opinions and comment - hand-picked by our editors, just for you.
  • Pick 5 of your favourite companies. Get a daily email with all the news updates on them.
  • Track the industry of your choice with a daily newsletter specific to that industry.
  • Stay on top of your investments. Track stock prices in your portfolio.

NOTE :

  • The monthly duration product is an auto renewal based product. Once subscribed, subject to your card issuer's permission we will charge your card/ payment instrument each month automatically and renew your subscription.
  • In the Annual duration product we offer both an auto renewal based product and a non auto renewal based product.
  • We do not Refund.
  • No Questions asked Cancellation Policy.
  • You can cancel future renewals anytime including immediately upon subscribing but 48 hours before your next renewal date.
  • Subject to the above, self cancel by visiting the "Manage My Account“ section after signing in OR Send an email request to assist@bsmail.in from your registered email address and by quoting your mobile number.

Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Wed, April 08 2020. 22:40 IST
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU
.