In his address this morning, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the nationwide lockdown will be extended till May 3 to curb the outbreak of Coronavirus in India. While the aviation sector has not officially announced the status of domestic and international flights, airport authorities are now preparing new rules and measures to practice social distancing and avoid human contact.
Recent images of the shuttle buses and aeroplane boarding stairs show large crosses with black-yellow tape indicating the seats and places that are not meant to be occupied. On the shuttle bus, this includes every alternate seat in the front and sides. On the stairs, the tapes will indicate the places to stand.
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 few 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.