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No Duty Free Shopping, Empty Middle Seats: New Social Distancing Rules for Airports Post COVID-19 Lockdown

File photo of the Indira Gandhi international Airport in New Delhi. (Picture source: PTI)

File photo of the Indira Gandhi international Airport in New Delhi. (Picture source: PTI)

Authorities are likely to begin operations in a phased manner for both international as well as domestic flights in order to prevent excessive crowds at airports.

Taking cues from its operation during the lockdown where the Delhi airport functioned to felicitate rescue and medical flights, airport authorities are now planning to implement a similar model once the lockdown is over.

The government is likely to begin operations in a phased manner for both international as well as domestic flights in order to prevent excessive crowds at airports. A few of the measures that are expected to be implemented at all airports once the operation is live include keeping the middle seats and last three rows empty to minimise contact between passengers. Airlines will also be asked to minimise onboard service in order to prevent close contact between the cabin crew and passengers.

Pre-packaged food will be kept on the seats prior to boarding while airline could also allow passengers to carry their own food. Other measures will include boarding of just three rows at a time. Airports will also be required to ensure a two-metre distancing during check-in and security check.

The AAI-GMR group joint venture-run Delhi Airport on Tuesday said it has handled over 50 evacuation flights, transporting over 10,000 stranded foreign nationals to their respective countries, till date since the implementation of 21-days lockdown.

Since the suspension of all commercial passenger aircraft operations, the Delhi Airport has been operational 24x7 despite the suspension of commercial operations, due to the 21-day lockdown following the coronavirus outbreak, said Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL) CEO, Videh Kumar Jaipuriar said.

In the last two weeks, the airport has remained functional to handle cargo and evacuation flights, operated by countries like Japan, Norway, Germany, Afghanistan, Poland, Russia and France to repatriate their nationals stranded in India due to lockdown, DIAL said.

With inputs from PTI

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