DGCA mandates compliance with Covid protocol
Flyers refusing to follow Covid-19 protocols, which include not wearing masks, can be categorised as “unruly” and de-boarded before departure, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said in an order issued on Wednesday.
Masks can be removed only under “exceptional circumstances” and “for permitted reasons only”. CISF personnel have been asked to ensure that no person enters the airport without a mask. “The airline shall ensure that in case any passenger does not adhere to above instructions even after repeated warnings, he/she should be de-boarded if need be, before departure,” the guidelines said.
The new guidelines comes in days after the Delhi High Court stated that strict action should be taken against passengers violating Covid-19 safety norms at airports and inside the aircraft. The court had said it is noticed very often, the norms are not implemented on the ground with the seriousness with which they are framed.
The guidelines state that in case a passenger on-board refuses to wear a mask or violates the Covid-19 protocol for passengers even “after repeated warnings” during the course of the flight, “such passengers can be treated as unruly passengers”. Other rules mention that airlines need to make regular announcements on Covid appropriate behaviour – at the airport, counters and also at the time of the journey, while it should also make arrangements to provide face masks if required.
Airport operators have been asked to levy fines on passengers/people who violate Covid appropriate behaviour, as applicable under the respective State laws. In case a passenger repeatedly refuses to wear a face mask the airport, the offender “may be handed over to security agencies”.
Operators also need to arrange for regular sanitisation and keep dispensers and hand sanitisers across the airports, the directions issued by the DGCA stated.
June 08, 2022