Bengaluru airport readies for domestic flight services

Bengaluru, May 24 (IANS) The Kempegowda airport at Devanahalli on the city's northern outskirts has been readied for resuming domestic flight operations from Monday, two months after all services were suspended on March 23 to contain the coronavirus spread, an official said on Sunday.

“The airport is spruced up and ready to resume domestic flight services by all the airlines from Monday in compliance with the new guidelines of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and Union Health Ministry,” the official of the operator told IANS here.

As the third busiest airport after Mumbai and New Delhi in normal times, the country's first greenfield airport under the public-private partnership has been functional even during the extended lockdown, with cargo services by domestic and international airlines and inbound/outbound evacuation flights since March-end.

“As per standard operating procedure, only asymptomatic passengers who have downloaded the Arogya Setu app and booked the air ticket online will be allowed into the airport on showing an e-boarding pass or its printed version at the entrance and after thermal screening and hand washing with sanitiser, asserted the official.

Wearing mask is compulsory for all through the journey.

For the first time, the movement of passengers for departure from parking to boarding will be contactless to maintain physical distancing and avoid risk of touching any surface in the airport.

“Even sanitiser-dispensers will be touch-free in the airport terminal. So also food and beverage service and retail sales in the departure lounge.

Though the airport is geared up for full-fledged operations, the airlines will operate only one-third or 30 per cent of their capacity, as directed by the civil aviation ministry and its regulator (DGCA) for gradual reopening of the domestic service.

“Passengers arriving from other cities will also be screened on landing and guided for 7-day mandatory institutional quarantine at a hotel of their choice or in designated hostels, as decided by the state government,” asserted the official.

The fumigated airport has also disinfection tunnels for passengers to pass through.

“With emphasis on least touch and exposure between passengers and airport staff, physical contact will be minimal due to extensive use of technology,” said Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL) Chief Executive Hari Marar in a statement here.

The CISF (Central Industrial Security Force) will verify the boarding pass and a state-issued photo ID using an electronic device or through a magnified glass screen.

Door mats will be soaked with bleach at the terminal entrance to disinfect shoes or footwear.

On entering the departure terminal, every passenger will scan the boarding pass at a contactless self-service kiosk, collect baggage tag before proceeding to the airline counter to drop-off his/her luggage.

Passengers also have the option of using the assisted baggage drop counter to print and tag their baggage.

Initially, only one-hand baggage and one checked-in luggage will be allowed, as mandated by the DGCA.

At the airline bag drop counters, a transparent partition has been installed for the safety of passengers and the airline staff.

“Passengers have to observe safe distance markers on the floor.AThey will scan the boarding pass on a sensor and show his/her ID for the airline staff to accept their baggage.

Under the new contactless process, body scanning will be done using door frame metal detectors.

Stamping of the boarding pass has been suspended by the regulator (DGCA).

“At the boarding gate, the airline staff will hand over a kit containing a face mask, face shield, and sanitiser to the passenger, who must put on the new mask and sanitise hands before boarding.

The passenger will scan the boarding pass on the sensor. Airline staff will do temperature screening and then permit boarding.

Across the terminal bio-waste collection bins are placed so that passengers can dispose their used mask and other personal protective equipment.



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