Quarantining of passengers on domestic flights not required, says Union Civil Aviation Minister
Hardeep Singh Puri, the Union Civil Aviation Minister said that there is no requirement of 14-day quarantine for passengers on domestic flights. He also said that on May 25 when the domestic services resume, only one-third of the flights will be allowed to operate but under strict rules.
“The passengers are expected to certify the status of their health through the Aarogya Setu app or a self-declaration form,” Puri said during a press briefing on the resumption of domestic air travel in the country. “This system which we have followed of the middle seat not being kept vacant has worked...we take other corresponding preventive measures,” the Union minister claimed.
He further added that after every flight, the aircraft are disinfected, passengers are tested through thermal screening and are required to wear masks. The crew members also wear protective gear, he said.
The minister addressed the idea of keeping the middle seat vacant to ensure physical distancing and said that this would lead to a 33% revenue loss for airlines, making it difficult for them to operate. The minister said that India has evacuated around 20,000 people stranded in other nations under the Vande Bharat Mission using the same method.
The minister also clarified that quarantining passengers would not be required as persons those who test positive during screening will not be allowed to board the flights. “I don’t know why we are making such a fuss on the quarantine issue...this is domestic travel,” he said to a news source. “Same laws will apply here that applies when you travel by train or a bus... People who are positive will not be allowed to board the flights... The quarantine issue will be dealt with in a pragmatic manner.”
Earlier in the day, the Ministry of Civil Aviation issued new guidelines for domestic flight operations from May 25, shortly after the Airports Authority of India released standard operating procedures.
Only one check-in bag and a cabin baggage will be allowed, meal service will not be provided on board, the ministry said. It also advised vulnerable persons, including the elderly, pregnant women and passengers with health problems to avoid air travel.