Airports prepare for life after COVID-19 lockdown

Airports prepare for life after coronavirus lockdown

According to the AAI, initially the airline operations would resume in Tier-1 cities, some state capitals and major Tier-II cities

Representative image (PTI Photo)

Two of India’s busiest airports – Delhi and Mumbai – have drawn up plans for life after lockdown with an aggressive push for self-service and encouraging travelers to opt for online check-in to ensure limited contact with personnel at airports.

The Airports Authority of India (AAI), which manages 100 airports across the country, has also issued guidelines with directions to use single terminal at airports with multiple terminals and restrictions on retail outlets selling food and beverages.

According to the AAI, initially the airline operations would resume in Tier-1 cities, some state capitals and major Tier-II cities.

 

The government is yet to take a decision on re-starting air travel, which was suspended late last month as India stepped up measures to arrest the spread of COVID-19. International commercial flights were halted from March 22 and domestic operations were suspended from March 24 till May 3 when the lockdown is expected to end.

“Passengers will be encouraged to check-in at home or use self-service facilities such as self check-in facility, self bag tag facility, scan & fly,” a Delhi airport official said.

The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport at Mumbai has also urged passengers to carry minimum luggage while traveling and use contact-less payment to the optimal level within the airport premises.

“To enable safety precautions at the airport, CSMIA plans to maintain social distancing through distinctive markings at both the terminals, maintaining 1.5 meters distance between each passenger,” a Mumbai airport statement said.

The special markings will be spread across the entry gate, check-in counters, self-check-in kiosks, security checkpoints, food courts, lounge area and the boarding area amongst others, the CSMIA said.

The Delhi Airport also plans to deploy additional queue managers to avoid crowding and maintaining social distancing as passengers make their way to the aircraft.

“The Delhi Airport is also conducting training and assessments of key service personnel, run checks on major facilities, and performing risk evaluations to prepare for resuming operations,” Videh Kumar Jaipuriar, CEO of the Delhi International Airport Limited said.

Airlines were also encouraging passengers to wear face masks throughout the entire journey as well as at airports.

The Lufthansa Group of airlines have asked all passengers to wear a mouth-nose cover on board their flights. “The obligation to wear the mask will preliminarily apply until 31.08.2020,” a Lufthansa spokesperson said.