Airlines must de-board any passenger who refuses to wear a face mask inside an aircraft after being warned, according to the DGCA on Wednesday. In addition, airport operators must work with local police and security agencies and impose fines on persons who do not wear face masks, according to a circular issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
The circular was issued in response to a June 3 order by the Delhi High Court, which stated that the ‘DGCA should issue separate binding directions to all staff persons deployed at airports and in aircraft, including flight attendants, air hostesses, captains/pilots, and others, to take strict action against passengers and others who violate the masking and hygiene norms’.
All those found in violation of the rules must be penalized, and repeated defaulters must be placed on a no-fly list, according to the court. According to the DGCA’s Wednesday circular, airlines must guarantee that passengers correctly wear masks on flights and that they are removed from faces only ‘under extraordinary situations and for allowed reasons’. The airline must offer a spare face mask if a passenger requests one.
‘The airline shall guarantee that if any passenger fails to comply with the foregoing instructions after repeated warnings, he or she shall be de-boarded, if necessary, before departure,’ it stated. If a passenger refuses to wear a mask or breaches the COVID-19 procedure after numerous warnings in flight, he shall be considered an ‘unruly passenger’ under DGCA regulations, according to the circular. The DGCA regulations allow airlines the authority to prohibit customers for a set amount of time once they have been deemed ‘unruly’.
The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and other police officers stationed at the airport’s gate must guarantee that no one enters the grounds without wearing a mask, according to the statement. It was underlined that all airport operators must boost announcements and monitoring to ensure that passengers at terminals are correctly wearing face masks and adopting COVID-appropriate behavior at all times within the airport grounds.
‘Any passenger who does not wear a mask or refuses to wear a mask and follow the COVID-19 procedure shall be penalized in accordance with the local state legislation where the airport is located, and he may even be handed over to security services,’ it stated.
Airport operators must implement sanitization methods and put hand sanitizers or dispensers in prominent locations around the terminal, according to the report. ‘Also, airport operators should assess fines on individuals breaking COVID-19 standards in line with state legislation, with the assistance of local police and security authorities,’ it said.