Amid rising coronavirus cases cross India, airline operators have also been trying to strictly abide by the advisory issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) last week. The new rules have asked airlines to act against passengers flouting COVID-19 protocols. In view of a notice, three carriers have acted against seven such unruly fliers. Alliance Air, IndiGo and Air Asia have made such passengers de-board their flights for flouting the COVID-19 norms.
Four passengers on board Alliance Air’s Jammu-Delhi flight on Tuesday were de-boarded for not wearing masks properly inside the flight despite repeated warnings by the cabin crew. Charging them as ‘unruly/disruptive passengers’, the airline authorities handed the passengers over to security agencies at Delhi Airport. The details about violation of COVID-19 norms of other three passengers are not yet known.
In a circular issued on March 13, the DGCA had directed airport officials and security personnel to ensure that no one is allowed to enter the airport without wearing a mask. This, the regulator, said come as it has been noticed that some travellers undertaking air journey do not adhere to COVID- 19 protocols. These norms mandate wearing of mask properly, not below the nose, during all times of the journey from entering the Airport for departure to exiting the airport after arrival.
“On board the Aircraft, in case any passenger does not adhere to wearing of mask properly even after repeated warnings he or she should be de-boarded, if need be,” the circular had said. The adherence to the above directions shall be ensured by all concerned with immediate effect and strict action shall be taken in case of any violation.
This came days after the Delhi High Court gave airline crews the authority to offload any passenger who isn’t wearing their mask properly and place them on a no-fly list either permanently or for a stipulated time if they show “stubborn reluctance.” The judge had taken note of passengers’ callous behaviour at airports and issued directives to the DGCA.
After a period of steady decline, the coronavirus cases in a few states in India has been on a rise again. In the last 24 hours, India recorded 35,871 fresh coronavirus cases, the highest daily rise since early December. As of 7th January 2021, India was out of the list of top ten countries with the most active coronavirus cases in the world. However, between March 1 and 15, 70 districts in 16 states have seen an increase of more than 150 per cent in the active cases.
Amid the worrying rise, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday held a meeting with chief ministers of states, urging them to take big and decisive steps to immediately stop the emerging second peak in the country.