Wednesday, May 29, 2024

MOCA Creates Robust Mechanism In Collab With Airport Stakeholders To Ensure Smooth Passenger Travel

By Staff Correspondent

The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA), in consultation with the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) and Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), has issued various guidelines/protocols to be complied with during the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure safe and secure air transportation of passengers. 

The Government’s guidelines/protocols issued from time to time aim to identify countries ‘At Risk’, introducing the entry procedures for international arrivals (both at origin and destination), thermal screening, testing, quarantine, etc. This multi-pronged strategy followed by the Government of India has largely been effective in containing virus transmission. 

Under the overall guidance of MoHFW and MHA, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has created a robust mechanism in collaboration with all the stakeholders of the aviation eco-system to ramp up the required infrastructure/logistics like screening and testing facilities at airports, enhanced waiting area, amenities for the passengers at the holding area etc.

Ministry of Civil Aviation has constituted an Inter-Ministerial Air Transport Facilitation Committee (ATFC) with experts from MoHFW, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the Airline industry, etc. During a pandemic, this committee has recommended various measures based on which required guidelines were issued to contain the spread of the pandemic. 

As per the information available, modern aircraft with HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filters capture airborne microbes in the filtered air. Modern airlines have high air supply rates and where fresh air is supplemented with recirculated air. Protection within the cabin environment in the aircraft is also enhanced with the following additional measures:

  1. Protection of the passengers by wearing masks.
  2. The physical barrier of the seatbacks.
  3. No face to face seating positions.
  4. (Direction of airflow from ceiling to floor minimisingminimising flow from front to back.
  5. Availability of high-quality filters for recirculation of air.
  6. Managing passengers’ sequential boarding, including the cleaning and use of lavatories.
  7. Protocols for inflight services/meals/magazines/newspapers etc.
  8. Frequent cleaning, disinfection of aircraft as per prescribed norms.
  9. Supervision by trained cabin crew.

Accordingly, guidelines are issued to airlines, airports, and crew to follow required protocols from time to time.

It is pertinent to mention that the aircraft are designed and manufactured based on laid down design standards, including systems to maintain a healthy cabin environment. These systems filter the air and minimise the spread of airborne contaminants. 

The aircraft operating in India are certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the USA or by European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Therefore, any change in the design, including installing other systems in the aircraft, can only be mandated by FAA/ EASA or made with their approval. 

Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), as the State of Registry/ Operator of the aircraft, does not have the authority to change the type design of such aircraft, including installation of other systems which are not part of the type design. There is no financial outlay for this purpose.

This information was given by the Minister of State in the Ministry Of Civil Aviation (Gen (Dr) V. K. Singh (Retd) in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.


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