Travelling alone from Delhi to Bengaluru, five-year-old Vihaan Sharma was among the first few hundred passengers who landed at the Kempegowda International Airport on Monday morning.
Eagerly awaiting Vihaan’s arrival was his mother, Manjeesh Sharma.
The family, based in the city near Jigani, had dropped the boy at his grandparents’ house in Delhi. But all their plans went awry following the COVID-19 lockdown.
Karnataka:Passengers leave from Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru, as two flights have landed till now at the airport. A mother who came to receive her son says,"My 5-yr-old son Vihaan Sharma has travelled alone from Delhi,he has come back to Bengaluru after 3 months" pic.twitter.com/oAOsLCi7v9— ANI (@ANI) May 25, 2020
Holding aloft a board that boldly said ‘Special Category’ and sporting a yellow jacket, a matching mask, and blue gloves, Vihaan stepped out of the terminal, much to Manjeesh’s joy. “He has travelled alone, coming back to Bengaluru after three months,” she said, as their emotional reunion sparked a few heartwarming moments.
For the first few passengers, who walked into the departure terminal to catch the first flight, an AirAsia India flight to Ranchi, it was an unprecedented welcome by the airport staff. The first passenger, Ankita Singh, was pleasantly surprised to be welcomed with applause and cheers.
Later, she recalled how the safety arrangements for social-distancing were well enforced at the airport. The guidelines were being followed strictly, she said. The airport had prepared a tech-enabled contactless process from parking to boarding that minimised physical touch.
Incoming passengers from red zone areas were shifted to hotels for seven days of institutional quarantine. About 40 flights were scheduled to arrive from red zone cities, and 55 from green zone cities across the country.
After the mandatory thermal screening and checks, the red zone passengers boarded BMTC buses specially arranged for the commute to the quarantine hotels. Ten BMTC buses and ten ambulances were stationed at the airport.
Departing passengers were all subjected to thermal screening, given masks and sanitisers before they went through contact-less security and baggage check-in process. Announcements were made repeatedly both inside the terminal and outside to maintain social-distancing and follow all the standard operating procedures.
As part of the contactless process, at the pre-embarkation security check, passengers had to scan the boarding pass at a kiosk and put all belongings in the tray before going through the body scanner. Trays were being sanitised after every use.
Body scanning was done using Door Frame Metal Detectors (DFMD). Stamping of the boarding pass was suspended, as directed by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).