De-board 'unruly' passengers who violate mask mandate: DGCA to airlines in new Covid travel norms
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in an order on Wednesday issued new Covid norms in line with Delhi High Court’s recent observations.
The aviation regulator ordered airlines to ensure that all passengers wear face masks properly and continue to wear the mask throughout the journey. The face masks can be removed under exceptional circumstances and for permitted reasons only, it added.
The airline shall ensure that in case any passenger does not adhere to the instructions even after repeated warnings, they should be de-boarded, if need be, before departure.
In case, any passenger on board an aircraft refuses to wear mask or violates the "COVID-19 Protocol for passengers" even after repeated warnings, during the course of the flight, such passenger may be treated as an "Unruly Passenger" as defined in para 3.1 of Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) Section 3 Series M Part VI (dated 8" September, 2017) and the procedure in respect of handling such unruly passenger, as provided in above-mentioned CAR, shall be followed by the concerned airline.
The Delhi High Court on Friday directed the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to put offenders of Covid guidelines on a ‘no-fly list’. The Delhi HC issued the diktat to enforce strict compliance with Covid travel restrictions as cases rise across the country. The HC bench asked for heavy fines to be levied on those found without masks inside airports and flights. The top court has also issued an order to the aviation industry to enforce all covid rules inside airport premises as well as flights. The court has also asked the crew members of the flight to take action against the violators of covid norms
The airline shall ensure that passengers are sensitised on the precautionary measures to be taken by them through their websites, travel agents, call centers, display at airports, assistance booths at the airports, etc.
DGCA further urged airline to make regular announcements for awareness among the passengers on the need to follow COVID-19 appropriate behavior such as hand hygiene, wearing mask, etc. during travel.
The airline shall make arrangement of extra Face Mask and provide to the passengers, if required.