Updated: March 31, 2021 7:15:15 am
Aviation regulator DGCA has found the compliance of Covid-19 protocols at the country’s airports to be “not satisfactory”, and consequently asked all airport operators to step up surveillance while exploring the possibility of imposing spot fines to those violating rules such as improper wearing of masks and social distancing.
Meanwhile, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has also approved 18,843 domestic flights per week in the summer schedule of 2021, which will last till October 30. This is 80 per cent of the full summer schedule of 22,980 flights per week, and around 77 per cent of the 2020 summer schedule that was approved for 24,409 flights every week.
“During the surveillance of some airports, it has come to notice that compliance (of Covid-19 protocols) is not satisfactory … Accordingly, all airport operators may enhance surveillance towards this end. The possibility of taking punitive action, such as levy of spot fines in accordance with law, shall also be explored with the local police authorities so as to serve a deterrent for violation of Covid-19 protocol,” the DGCA noted in an advisory circular Tuesday.
Earlier this month, the regulator — on instructions from the Delhi High Court — had asked airlines, airports and the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) to put passengers not wearing masks properly on the no-fly list. According to DGCA sources, proceedings for putting dozens of passengers on no-fly list because of this reason have been started already.
“Our fight against COVID continues. Advisory issued to all airports to ensure compliance of COVID19 Protocol. People must wear face masks (covering nose & mouth)& maintain social distance. We are moving in direction of punitive action by police against passengers who don’t comply,” Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said in a tweet Tuesday.
According to him, on March 28, a total 2,47,395 passengers flew on 2,281 flights. Currently, flight operations are restricted at 80 per cent of pre-Covid schedule. In the new schedule for 2021, the country’s largest airline IndiGo has been approved to operate 8,749 flights per week, followed by budget carrier SpiceJet at 2,854 flights every week, and GoAir and Air India at 1,747 flights and 1,683 flights per week, respectively.