From protective gear for crew to aircraft deep cleaning: Airlines prepare to resume domestic ops
New Delhi, May 22: From providing protective gear like face shields and gowns to cabin crew to deep cleaning of aircraft every 24 hours, airlines are taking various measures as they plan to restart curtailed domestic operations from Monday onwards amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Full-service carrier Vistara on Friday said it will operate a "reduced network" for the next few weeks connecting 24 cities across the country. All employees will wear personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times, including cabin crew that will wear protective gowns, masks and face shields, it said.
"The airline will also ensure disinfectant cleaning of all aircraft at the turn-around of every single flight and deep cleaning of all aircraft every 24 hours with approved disinfectant cleaners," Vistara said in a statement.
Except GoAir, all other Indian airlines have opened bookings for their domestic flights that will start operating from May 25. AirAsia India said pilots will have access to an ample amount of PPE like masks and sanitisers to upkeep their safety and hygiene. "Our well trained (cabin) crew will be operating with adequate PPE, including masks, face shields, protective gowns and gloves and have been trained to assist with and manage medical situations in-flight," AirAsia India said in a statement.
Earlier this week, the Modi government had announced that scheduled domestic commercial passenger flights will resume in a calibrated manner from May 25 onwards. All scheduled commercial passenger flights were suspended from March 25, when the government imposed lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus.
In a statement, IndiGo CEO Ronojoy Dutta on Friday said all common surfaces such as baggage drop counters, boarding gates, coaches, ramps, wheelchairs, crew vehicles will be thoroughly disinfected using "approved cleaning agents".
"We will disinfect the aircraft before every flight. In addition, we will also follow a periodic fumigation of the aircraft," he noted. IndiGo will deep clean its aircraft every night. He said ground staff and crew members will be wearing PPE appropriate for their roles. IndiGo's cabin crew members would be wearing PPE like masks, gloves, face shields and gowns.
IndiGo, India's largest airline, will serve water on demand and hand over safety kits to passengers at the boarding gate. The passenger kit provided by IndiGo would consist of sanitisers and surgical masks. Dutta said each passenger will have to fill an online health declaration form during the compulsory web check-in process. IndiGo and Vistara said passengers must do web check-in of their baggage too and print the tag to affix it on that baggage.