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Covid-19 Protocols during Flights: Violators May be De-boarded or De-Barred from Flying

Covid-19 Protocols during Flights: Violators May be De-boarded or De-Barred from Flying

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NEW DELHI, Mar 13: Flyers violating Covid-19 protocols in the airports or during flying which included not wearing masks or not wearing it properly could be de-boarded or be declared “unruly passenger” and not allowed to take a flight in future permanently.

In case a passenger found not following the protocols at the airports, he or she could be handed over to the security staff and dealt with as a law and order problem.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in a circular on Saturday warned passengers who do not wear masks properly inside an aircraft even after repeated warnings would be de-boarded.

Asking the passengers for strict compliance of Covid-19 protocols during air travel, the DGCA said it had been noticed that some travellers do not adhere to Covid-19 protocols which involves wearing of mask properly during the journey from entering the airport for departure to exiting the airport after arrival.

It asked passengers to wear masks and maintain social distancing norms at all times during air travel.

“On board the aircraft, in case any passenger does not adhere to wearing of mask properly even after repeated warnings, he/she should be de-boarded, if need be, before departure. In case any passenger on board an aircraft refuse to wear mask or violates the “Covid-19 protocol for passengers” even after repeated warnings, during the course of the flight, such passenger may be treated as ‘unruly passenger’ …. and the procedure in respect of handling such unruly passenger, as provided in the above mentioned CAR, shall be followed by the concerned airline,” the circular said.

“The airport director/terminal manager, as applicable, must ensure that passengers are wearing masks properly and do maintain social distance at all times within the airport premises. “In case any passenger is not following the “Covid-19 protocol”, they should be handed over to security agencies after proper warnings. If required, they may be dealt as per law,” it said.

The DGCA also said the CISF or other police personnel deployed at the entrance of the airport shall ensure that no one is allowed to enter the airport without wearing a mask. “CASO and other supervising officers must ensure this personally,” it said.

The DGCA directive follow an order issued by the Delhi High Court after a judge as shocked to find the behavior of the passengers in a domestic flight with most of the passengers flouting the Covid-19 norms.

The HC had advised setting a set of guidelines that empowers the cabin crew to offload passengers who do not properly wear their masks. If the plane has already taken off, action should be taken against delinquent passengers that could include permanently barring them from flying.

The DGCA stated that these directives are to be implemented with immediate effect and any violation would attract strict action.

(Manas Dasgupta)



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