India: 'Unruly passengers' to be de-boarded for not following Covid protocols

The Delhi High Court ordered the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to ensure strict implementation of safety measures at airports

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Published: Wed 8 Jun 2022, 10:59 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jun 2022, 11:09 PM

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Wednesday issued directions for strict compliance with Covid-19 protocols at airports and inside the aircraft.

On June 3, the Delhi High Court ordered DGCA to ensure strict implementation of the Covid-19 guidelines at airports.

The directions issued say that the airlines shall ensure that all passengers are wearing face masks properly and continue to wear the mask throughout the journey. The face masks can be removed under exceptional circumstances and for permitted reasons only.

It further stated that the airline should ensure that passengers are sensitised on the precautionary measures to be taken by them through their websites, travel agents, call centres, displays at airports and assistance booths at the airports.

The airline shall make regular announcements for awareness among the passengers on the need to follow appropriate Covid-19 behaviour such as hand hygiene and wearing masks during travel.

The airline shall make arrangements for extra face masks and provide them to the passengers if required. 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, it said.

In case, any passenger on board an aircraft refuses to wear a mask or violates the "Covid-19 Protocol for passengers" even after repeated warnings, during the course of the flight, such passenger may be treated as an "Unruly Passenger" as defined in para 3.1 of Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) Section 3 Series M Part VI (dated September 8, 2017) and the procedure in respect of handling such unruly passenger, as provided in above-mentioned CAR, shall be followed by the concerned airline, said the directions.

"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. CASO and other supervising officers must ensure this personally," the statement read.


All airport operators are directed to increase airport announcements and surveillance to ensure that the passengers at the terminal are wearing face masks properly and follow Covid-appropriate behaviour at all times within the airport premises. In case any passenger does not wear a mask, or refuses to wear one and follow the Covid-19 protocols, they should be fined as per the respectivesState law where the airport is located, and may even be handed over to the securityaAgencies for dealing with the matter as per the applicable law on the subject.

"Airport operators shall take sanitisation measures at airports and provide hand sanitisers/dispensers at prominent places in the terminal. Also, airport operators shall levy fines on those violating Covid protocols in accordance with state regulations with the help of local police/security agencies, etc. for violation of Covid protocols," it read.

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