In an effort to stem the COVID-19 pandemic, the DGCA has asked airlines to deboard passengers who do not wear their mask “properly” despite repeated warnings. It directed airlines to treat a passenger as “unruly” in case the person violates the protocol.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation, in a circular issued on Saturday, also directed the airport operators to ensure that passengers wear their mask and maintain social distancing norms at all times during the air travel. The watchdog said it has noticed that some travellers undertaking air journey do not adhere to COVID-19 protocols, which essentially involve wearing of masks properly, not below the nose, right from entering the departing airport to exiting from the arriving airport.
It observed that some passengers after entering the airport do not wear their mask properly and maintain social distance while being in the airport, and some passengers not wearing their masks properly while on board the aircraft.
“On board the aircraft, in case any passenger doe not adhere to wearing a mask properly, even after repeated warnings, he/she should be de-boarded, if need be, before departure,” the circular said. “In the case of any passenger on board an aircraft refusing to wear a mask or violates the COVID-19 protocol for passengers’ even after repeated warnings, during the course of the flight, such passengers may be treated as “unruly” passengers.”
The DGCA said the procedure in respect of handling such unruly passengers will be followed by the airline concerned as per the Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR). The circular also said that passengers will wear masks and maintain social distancing norms at all times during air travel, adding the mask shall not be moved below the nose except under exceptional circumstances.
Furthermore, it directed the CISF/police personnel deployed at the entrance of the airport to ensure that no one is allowed to enter the airport without wearing a mask.