Aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Tuesday told airports to consider imposing spot fines, with the help of police authorities, on passengers who are found not wearing masks properly and not maintaining social distancing as per the COVID-19 rules.
DGCA for Enhanced Surveillance
On March 13, the DGCA had asked airports and airlines to ensure that passengers wear mask and maintain social distance at all times during air travel, and take action against those violating the norms.
In a circular issued on Tuesday, the regulator said, “During the surveillance of some airports, it has come to notice that compliance (of COVID-19 protocols) is not satisfactory. All airport operators, therefore, are requested to ensure that the instructions on COVID-19 protocol from the standpoint of wearing face mask properly, covering nose and mouth, as well as maintaining social distance norms within the airport premises are followed scrupulously,” it said.
Accordingly, all airport operators can increase surveillance in this regard, the DGCA said.
“The possibility of taking punitive action, such as levy of spot fines in accordance with the law, shall also be explored with local police authorities so as to serve a deterrent for violation of COVID-19 protocol,” it stated.
The March 13 circular had asked the airport operators to hand over the passengers, who are not following the COVID-19 protocol even after repeated warnings, to the security agencies.
Moreover, it had asked the airlines to de-board the passengers who refused to adhere to COVID-19 norms even after repeated warnings and consider banning them from flying for at least three months.
The New Indian Express quoted senior officials of the DGCA as having said last week that fifteen passengers, who were found violating COVID-19 norms on domestic flights of three airlines between March 15 and March 23, might be banned for three months by the carriers.
The Union Civil Aviation Minister (Independent Charge) Hardeep Singh Puri Tweeted to say that an advisory had been issued to all airports to ensure compliance of COVID-19 protocol.
Our fight against COVID continues.
Advisory issued to all airports to ensure compliance of COVID19 Protocol. People must wear face masks (covering nose & mouth)& maintain social distance. We are moving in direction of punitive action by police against passengers who don’t comply.
— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) March 30, 2021
“People must wear face masks (covering nose and mouth) and maintain social distance. We are moving in direction of punitive action by police against passengers who don’t comply,” Mr. Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister Of Civil Aviation said.