At present check-in counters for domestic flights close 45 minutes prior to departure while for international flights they close a hour before departure I Photo: Shutterstock
The Central Industrial Security Force, which guards 63 Indian airports, has recommended staggered flight schedules and closure of check-in counters two hours prior to departure to avoid crowding and maintaining social distancing.
These suggestions are part of business continuity plan submitted by the CISF
to the civil aviation ministry. Domestic and international flights are suspended till April 14 as part of a nationwide lockdown.
Civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Wednesday said restrictions will be lifted once government is confident that spread of virus is controlled and it poses no danger to citizens.
While the Directorate General of Civil Aviation will it make mandatory for airlines to keep all middle seats in aircraft vacant, CISF
has made its own recommendations to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
"Airlines should stagger or spread out the flight timings to avoid gathering of large number of passengers at any given point of time. This will ensure social distancing amongst the passengers and ease different airport processes," CISF
special director general (airport sector) M A Ganapathy said in his submission.
The security agency has also proposed changes in check-in process and also wants passengers who have undergone quarantine to self-declare themselves so that they are frisked at separate booths. A questionnaire can be prepared by airlines for this purpose.
"Reporting time for passengers to the airport should be increased up to 120 minutes, so that passengers reporting at the airport may smoothly pass through all the channels like access control, random screening, check-in, immigration in case of international passengers) by maintaining appropriate distance," Ganapathy added.
At present check-in counters for domestic flights close 45 minutes prior to departure while for international flights they close a hour before departure.
Further CISF has said alternate check-in counters should be used so that gap is between them.