Covid19 has affected almost every industry worldwide, including the aviation sector too. With months of suspended air travel, the aviation industry took a big blow. But now, people have resorted to secure travel procedures and guidelines to make domestic as well as international trips.
Governments from different nations are also opening up lockdowns and loosening their travel restrictions. India has initiated Air bubbles or Transport bubbles with countries like the US, France, the UK, Canada, Germany, Maldives, the UAE etc. with set norms for international travel.
There is a whole list of rules and travel guidelines for international passengers boarding flights from India. Some of them are mentioned below:
- A self-declaration form needs to be submitted on the airport’s online portal at least 72 hours before the scheduled flight.
- Depending on the destination, flyers need to fill the undertaking along with the form for a self-paid quarantine period after reaching their destination.
- There is also a provision of exemption from self-quarantines in some cases. Passengers can cross-check with the destination country’s guidelines.
- A Dos and Don’ts placard or manual will be provided along with the travel ticket to the passengers by the concerned agencies.
- Passengers need to install AarogyaSetu app on their devices before boarding flights.
- After the thermal screening, only asymptomatic travellers will be allowed to board the plane.
- Precautionary measure like sanitation and periodic disinfection of the airport premises will take place.
- The copies of passengers’ self-declaration form will be submitted to the immigration officials at the checkpoints.
- There will be repeated and suitable announcements about precautionary measures in the flight.
- Wearing of masks and maintaining hand, environmental and respiratory hygiene will be supervised by the plane staff.
Flights are Safe
A majority of viruses and air-borne germs are effectively killed onboard thanks to HEPA filters. Aeroplanes have a very refined and advanced system of air circulation and purification, which considerably reduces the chances of virus spread in the flight. However, passengers must act wisely and with responsibility.
Measures by the Aviation Stakeholders, Worldwide
- Avoidance of queues for toilets and lavatory access – to be given upon individual requests
- Installation of sanitising check-in kiosks, station bins, disinfecting entrances, jet bridges, employee rooms and counters at the airport
- Compulsory usage of face covers and effective masks by passengers and staff without any exceptions
- Sanitisation of aircraft lavatories, overhead cabins, tray tables and LED screens before and after flights
- Blocking the middle seats from usage temporarily, reducing food and beverage offerings and replacement of HEPA filters more frequently
- Regular temperature checks of employees and passengers with kiosk installations for temperature, heart and respiratory rate monitoring at various airports
- Travel restrictions for those violating the norms and guidelines
Changes that might become Permanent
- An added layer of mandatory health checks and self-declarations along with security procedures
- Temperature checks, swab tests and disinfection processes for baggage and passengers before boarding flights
- Eliminating human contact with surfaces at check-in and baggage drop-off areas by introducing advanced technological measures
- Higher investment in the health and safety infrastructure of the aviation industry
- Issuing protective equipment to airport staff and in-flight crew for better protection from external sources
Due to all these changes, waiting time and ticket expenses might increase slightly for passengers and their families. In fact, experts suspect that ticket prices might go to an all-time high in the future. If international travel is not avoidable, you will have to look at innovative ways to get the best deal. With the option of earning miles on international flights, the blow can surely be reduced to a huge extent.
Get Set Fly
Air travel is slowly normalising with precautionary measures in place. The aviation industry is adapting to the new normal in the best ways possible. Some changes might dissolve overtime as the vaccine surfaces, while other changes like increased investment in health infrastructure are expected to stay and positively change the way people fly. Stay safe and fly securely!