A Vistara aircraft prepares to land at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai. India’s airlines are taking various measures as they plan to restart curtailed domestic operations. Image Credit: Bloomberg

New Delhi: From providing protective gear like face shields and gowns to cabin crew to deep cleaning of aircraft every 24 hours, India’s airlines are taking various measures as they plan to restart curtailed domestic operations from Monday amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Full-service carrier Vistara said on Friday it will operate a “reduced network” for the next few weeks connecting 24 cities across the country.

All employees will wear personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times, including cabin crew that will wear protective gowns, face masks and face shields, it said.

“The airline will also ensure disinfectant cleaning of all aircraft at the turn-around of every single flight and deep cleaning of all aircraft every 24 hours with approved disinfectant cleaners,” Vistara said in a statement.

Except GoAir, all other Indian airlines have opened bookings for their domestic flights that will start operating from May 25.

AirAsia India said pilots will have access to an ample amount of PPE like face masks and sanitisers to upkeep their safety and hygiene.

“Our well trained (cabin) crew will be operating with adequate PPE including masks, face shields, protective gowns and gloves and have been trained to assist with and manage medical situations in-flight,” AirAsia India said in a statement.

Earlier this week, the Modi government had announced that scheduled domestic commercial passenger flights will resume in a calibrated manner from May 25 onwards.

All scheduled commercial passenger flights were suspended from March 25, when the government imposed lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Fares regulated

Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Thursday said that a minimum and maximum fare for three months has been set for the domestic flight services, which resume from May 25.

“We have set a minimum and a maximum fare. In the case of Delhi, Mumbai the minimum fare would be Rs3,500 for a journey between 90-120 minutes. The maximum fare would be Rs10,000. This is operative for three months - till one minute to midnight on August 24,” said Puri at a press conference here.

Guidelines issued

Puri said guidelines have been issued for the passengers and airports, which are to be followed during flight operations.

“The cabin crew will be required to be in full protective gear. Only one check-in bag will be allowed. Passengers should report at least two hours before the departure time,” he said.

“A passenger will be required to wear protective gear, face mask and carry sanitiser bottle. Airlines shall not provide the meal on board. Water bottles will be made available in the gallery area or on seats,” he added.

He also said that self-declaration or Aarogya Setu App status on a compatible device would be obtained to ensure that a person does not have COVID-19 symptoms.

“Passengers with red status on Aarogya Setu App will not be allowed to travel,” he said.

Stating the rules for different routes for the carriers, the Minister said: “For operations from the metro to non-metro cities and vice-versa, where the weekly departure is less than 100, airlines are free to operate any routes of one-third capacity of approved summer schedule 2020. For all other cities, airlines are free to use one-third capacity of approved summer schedule 2020.”

The minister said that some tweaking of procedures, based on the experience garnered from domestic flight operations, will be needed to be studied before thinking of starting international flights.

- with inputs from PTI, IANS