File photo of passengers at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi.
File photo of passengers at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi.

Air travellers violating COVID-19 norms to be termed as 'unruly passengers': DGCA

New Delhi, March 13, 2021

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) today once again urged all air travellers to adhere to COVID-19 protocols, including wearing of masks and maintenance of social distancing norms, and made it clear that those who fail to do so could be treated as "unruly passengers" and dealt with accordingly under the relevant rules.

In a circular issued today, the civil aviation regulator said that it had been noticed that some passengers do not adhere to the COVID-19 protocols, which essentially involves wearing of a mask properly, that is not below the nose, during the entire journey from entering the airport for departure to exiting the airport after arrival at the destination.

The circular, sent to the Airports Authority of India, the CISF, all airlines and all airport operators and other stakeholders, said that it had been noted that some passengers after entering the airport do not wear mask properly and also do not maintain social distance in the airport.

Similarly, some passengers have been notied not wearing their masks properly while onboard the aircraft.

Accordingly, the DGCA has directed that passengers shall wear masks and maintain social distancing norms at all times during air travel. The mask shall not be moved below the nose, except under exceptional circumstances.

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. Airport Directors and Terminal Managers must also ensure that these protocols are followed.

In case any passenger is not following the protocol, they should be handed over to security agencies after proper warnings. If required, they may be dealt with as per law, the circular said.

On board the aircraft in case any passenger does not adhere to wearing of mask properly even after repeated warnings, he or she should be deboarded, if need be, before departure, it said.

"In case any passenger on board an aircraft refuses to wear mask or violates the COVID-19 protocol for passengers even after repeated warnings, during the course of the flight, such passengers may be treated as 'Unruly Passenger' as defined in para 3.1 of Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) Section3 Series M Part VI (dated 8th September, 2017) and the procedure in respect of handling such unruly passenger, as provided in the above-mentioned CAR, shall be followed by the concerned airline," the circular said.

"There adherence to above directions shall be ensured by all concerned with immediate effect. Strict action shall be taken in case of any violation," the circular added.


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