In a fresh directive to reinforce COVID appropriate behavior, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has allowed airlines to de-board a passenger if the passenger does not wear a face mask after repeated warnings.
“The airline shall ensure that in case any passenger does not adhere to the above instructions even after repeated warnings, he/she should be de-boarded, if need be, before departure,” DGCA has directed the airlines.
Further, in case, if any passenger on board an aircraft refuses to wear mask or violates the COVID protocol after repeated warnings then such passenger can also be treated as an “unruly passenger.”
The DGCA has asked airlines to ensure that passengers are wearing face masks properly and continue to wear face masks throughout the journey except under exceptional circumstances and for permitted reasons only. The airlines have been asked to make regular announcements for awareness among passengers on COVID appropriate protocol.
Further, the regulator has also issued a fresh directive to the airports. DGCA has asked airports to ensure that CISF or other police personnel deployed at the entrance of the airport shall ensure that no one is allowed to enter the airport without wearing a mask.
All airport operators are also directed to increase airport announcements and surveillance to ensure COVID appropriate behavior.
“In case any passenger does not wear a mask or refuses to wear a mask and follow COVID-19 protocol, he/she should be fined as per the respective state law where the airport is located, and he/she may even be handed over to security agencies for dealing with the matter as per the applicable law on the subject,” the directive further said.
Airports shall also provide hand sanitizers or dispensers at prominent places in the airport, the DGCA directive said.
The regulator has asked the stakeholders to implement the directives with immediate effect.
The fresh directive from DGCA comes after a June 3 order by the Delhi High Court directing the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to take strict action against passengers violating mask norms at the airports.