DGCA mandates masks in flights and airports as Covid-19 cases surge

India’s aviation regulator the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has mandated the use of masks in flights and airports as Covid19 cases are on the rise again. In the order, the regulator said passengers who don’t comply will be treated as “unruly” and be deboarded if need be, before departure.

“In case any passenger on board an aircraft refuses to weak mask on the aircraft or violates “Covid19 protocol for passengers” even after repeated warnings, during the flight, such passenger may be treated like an unruly passenger,” said the regulator.

The court had asked the DGCA to give directions to all airlines to authorise the staff at airports and in aircraft, including air hostesses, captains, pilots and others to take strict action against violators.

ALSO READ – Delhi HC advises DGCA to strictly enforce COVID-19 regulations at airports and in aircraft

DGCA mandates masks in flights and airports as Covid-19 cases surge

The order is in line with a recent Delhi High Court mandate, he added. The airlines have been instructed that a passenger that refuses to comply shall be deboarded before the departure. Violators of the new rules can be put on the ‘no-fly list’.

The latest order comes at a time when daily coronavirus infections in India have crossed 5,000 after more than three months. A total of 5,233 infections were recorded in 24 hours with seven fatalities.

The regulator said all airlines should ensure that face masks are worn in flight, should supply masks and sensitize passengers. Airports should have repeated announcements on the same. The government banned all domestic and international flights during the first wave.

Violators of the new rules can be put on the ‘no-fly list’.

The DGCA issued a similar order in March last year, but between March and April this year, several States removed the mask mandate, creating confusion among travellers.

While initially airports and airlines were also required to ensure social distancing, this requirement has been dispensed with, a government official confirmed.

The Directorate has also instructed airports to ensure surveillance. Those who disobey could face fines as per the laws in the State and could also be handed over to the security agencies.

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