Updated: Wed, 08 Jun 2022 06:03 PM IST
New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Days after the Delhi High Court flagged the passengers ignoring COVID norms in flights and asked the authorities to take strict action against them, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Wednesday issued new COVID guidelines for the passengers travelling in flights.
As per the new norms, the DGCA said that airlines must ensure the passengers wear masks properly on flights and they are removed from faces only "under exceptional circumstances and for permitted reasons". If a passenger needs an extra face mask, the airline must provide it.
"Airlines must de-board any passenger before departure if they refuse to wear face mask inside an aircraft even after being warned," DGCA's new circular said adding, "Besides, airport operators must take help of the local police and security agencies and levy fines on people not wearing face mask".
"The airline shall ensure that in case any passenger does not adhere to above instructions even after repeated warnings, he or she should be de-boarded, if need be, before departure," it said.
The circular followed a Delhi High Court order of June 3 which said the "DGCA should issue separate binding directions to all staff persons deployed at the airports and in the aircraft, including flight attendants, air hostesses, captains/pilots and others, to take strict action against passengers and others who violate the masking and hygiene norms".
In case any passenger refuses to wear a mask or violates the COVID-19 protocol even after repeated warnings in flight mid-air, he must be treated as an "unruly passenger" as defined in the DGCA regulations. The DGCA regulations give powers to airlines to ban passengers for a certain period of time after they have been declared "unruly".
Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and other police personnel deployed at the entrance of the airport must ensure that no one is allowed to enter the premises without wearing a mask. "In case any passenger does not wear mask or refuses to wear mask and follow COVID-19 protocol, he should be fined as per the respective state law where the airport is located and he may even be handed over to security agencies," it said.
Airport operators must take sanitisation measures at airports and provide hand sanitisers or dispensers at prominent places in the terminal, it noted. "Also, airport operators shall levy fines on those violating COVID-19 protocols in accordance with state regulations with the help of local police and security agencies for violation of COVID-19 protocols," it added.