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On May 25, limited domestic flights began operating in India after two months of being grounded. Here is what this historic day looked like. By Bayar Jain
In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdowns around the world, domestic flights in India were suspended effective from 23.59 hours IST on March 24, 2020. Two months later, the man-made birds took to the domestic skies once again, but this time with new protocols and sights. The ‘airport look’ found a new avatar, and announcements bellowed unusual guidelines. This is a glimpse of what the first day of these flights and airports looked like.
Passengers have been advised to wear face shields and masks throughout the entire flight.
Moreover, social distancing is to be maintained and passengers have been advised to refrain from using the lavatories. In-flight services have been temporarily suspended as well.
As the new regulations, web check-in is encouraged. Moreover, at baggage counters, passengers will now get the receipts of it via an SMS on their phones as compared to the prior printed ones.
Apart from the inflight crew, the staff at the airport are required to maintain social distancing and wear face masks at all times as well.
Face shields, gloves, and masks – worn by all members of airlines – ensure the spread of the virus.
Onboard staff is required to don Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) throughout the duration of the flight.
Currently, only select domestic routes are allowed to operate, given that both the state governments involved – the arrival and destination states – agree.
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According to a report, 532 flights took off on day one, with metro cities seeing the highest traffic. Although currently, only domestic flights have seen the light of the day, Minister of Civil Aviation of India, Hardeep Singh Puri has suggested that international flights could take to the skies by August.