Disinfect aircraft from Japan, South Korea and Italy before starting boarding for the next flight: DGCA

NEW DELHI: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has forced to thoroughly disinfect aircraft flying from Italy, South Korea and Japan to India. All passengers entering these flights to India must be examined and, if any traveler shows symptoms of coronavirus, the aircraft must undergo a stricter disinfection process.

Passenger boarding for the next flight that is supposed to operate on these planes will begin only after the disinfection process has been carried out, according to an order issued by DGCA on Tuesday night.

In the event of disembarkation, passengers from Italy, Japan and South Korea or from a flight in which a passenger has been identified as a COVID-19 suspect in the non-aerobridge bay, and a vehicle has been used to transport passengers from the bay to the terminal building, all these vehicles must also be subject to a disinfection/cleaning process (strict). The similar process will also be adopted in the case of a wheelchair used by a suspected passenger of COVID-19, the order says.

The regulator has ordered the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) for people who work at airports and operate flights. “Crew members work constantly in an environment that has potential for exposure to COVID-19. To avoid any form of infection to crew members, all (airlines) are advised to issue the following guidelines/instructions for the crew: practice personal hygiene and mandatory use of PPE in (some) sectors. It is advisable to the greatest extent possible for the crew to use PPE on all flights. Infection control measures, including the traceability of the crew, should be well documented in case the crew members are exposed to a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case, ”he says.

The regulator has ordered that all personnel at the airport, such as immigration, health, security, check-in staff, who are exposed to potential or possibly infected passengers or co-workers must receive mandatory PPE.

It has also asked airport operators to have adequate hand disinfection facilities in multiple locations, including check-in counters, terminal departure areas, at thermal control points for the use of personnel and passengers. Operators to ensure that adequate PPE is available on board all aircraft for distribution to passengers as needed or requested, both for the national and international sectors. The above is for strict compliance of all concerned, he says.

All personnel involved in the aircraft cleaning activity must have PPE, such as a surgical mask, gloves and disposable shoe covers. “All personnel must also be aware of the correct use and elimination of PPE as a potential biological risk. The process of preventive disinfection of aircraft must be carried out through the use of an alcohol-based agent according to WHO guidelines, ”the order adds.