The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Thursday, August 27, 2020, released a new set of guidelines for domestic flyers. Several parts of the country are still observing a lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak, however, some relaxations have been offered as per the ‘unlock’ guidelines. The Central Government has permitted the airlines to allow pre-packed meals, snacks, and beverages to be served on selected fights, depending on their duration. Furthermore, some international flights can choose to serve hot meals.
On the other hand, the airlines can put a passenger under the ‘no-fly’ list if they refuse to wear a face mask. The decision was taken to ensure safety in the aircraft, and officials stated that the airline and the crew members can take necessary action, as per the existing DGCA guidelines.
The order was issued by the Civil Aviation Ministry and was based on the standard practices followed in the aircraft.
These services were not allowed earlier in May, when the flights have resumed services, after a few months of lockdown. The decision was taken previously keeping the precautions in mind, but the revision was announced as per the current scenario. Earlier, passengers flying on international aircraft were only served pre-packed cold meals and snacks.
However, under the new rules, food can be served, but the airlines will have to use single-use disposable cutlery to serve food or beverages. Staff on the aircraft will also have to wear gloves to take precaution.
In addition to this, airlines can now offer in-flight entertainment services on international flights and some domestic flights, wherever applicable, however, firms will have to offer disposable and disinfected earphones before the journey begins.
Currently, airlines are operating only 45 per cent of the domestic flights due to the pandemic, and international flights are being operated in cases with arrangements have been made with other countries under the ‘Vande Bharat Mission.’