Flyers violating Covid norms to be termed ‘unruly passengers’

Air travellers not following Covid-19 protocol while travelling will be treated as ‘unruly passenger’ and strict action would follow as per provisions of the aircraft rules, a new circular issued by Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Saturday said.

The new circular follows numerous complaints of laxity seen at airports by travellers in following Covid-19 protocols laid to prevent transmission of the virus and ensure safety in air travel.

The new circular states that in case a passenger does not wear masks properly even after repeated warnings, he/she could be deboarded before departure. In case people not following Covid-appropriate behaviour or not wearing masks despite repeated warnings is found while flying, such passenger would be treated as “unruly” and action would be taken against them by the concerned airline.

DGCA has said that passengers should always, during their time on flights and inside the airport premises, wear masks and practise social distancing. It added that CISF or other police personnel will be deployed at the entrance to ensure that no one is allowed to enter the Airport without wearing a mask.

The circular has further stated that the airport director or terminal manager should ensure that all passengers are wearing masks and following social distancing norms, failing which they would be either handed over to the security agencies after proper warning for action as per law.

The strict adherence to Covid-19 protocol had been mentioned in the new circular in wake of increase in number of cases of violations where passengers after entering the airport as well as while on-board the aircraft are not wearing a mask or wearing it improperly.

The circular has said that the mask should not be moved “below the nose except under exceptional circumstances”.