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Indian flights restart COVID-19 guidance for safer operators

Indian flights restart COVID-19

New Entry Requirements for India: The ministry of civil aviation India has started a contactless solution by the name of air suvidha for all the international passengers visiting India due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Air Suvidha self declaration form to be mandatorily filled by all international arriving passengers to India.

India plans to restart international flights with new rules & guidelines. The International Air Transport Association revealed details of its proposed temporary layered approach to biosafety for passenger flights resuming in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.

Pre-flight, IATA foresees the need for governments to collect passenger data in advance of travel, including health information, which should be accomplished using well-tested channels such as those used for India e Visa or electronic travel authorization programs.

At the departure airport, the IATA examined several layers of protective measures:

Airport terminal access should be restricted to workers, travelers, and accompanying persons in situations such as for passengers with disabilities, reduced mobility, or unaccompanied minors.

Temperature screening should be implemented at entry points to the terminal building and be as efficient as possible. The screening needs to be carried out by professionally trained staff who can decide if a passenger is fit to fly or not. In addition, the screening staff needs to have all the required equipment at their disposal.

Physical distancing needs to be implemented according to the local rules and regulations. As a minimum, IATA recommends ranges from 1-2 meters (3-6 feet). In conjunction with the local airport authority, the passenger flow through the terminal - check-in, immigration, security, departure such as face cover, temperature checks, etc., during the travel process. However, the medical evidence regarding immunity from COVID-19 is still inconclusive, so immunity passports are not currently supported. At such time as the medical evidence supports the possibility of an immunity passport, we believe it is essential that a recognized global standard be introduced, and that corresponding documents be made available electronically.

  • Access to the terminal building should be restricted to airport/airline employees and passengers  (with exceptions being made for those accompanying passengers with disabilities or unaccompanied minors).
  • Temperature screening by trained government staff at entry points to the terminal building
  • Physical distancing through all passenger processes, including queue management
  • Use of face coverings for passengers and masks for staff in line with local regulations
  • Self-service options for check-in used by passengers as much as possible to reduce contact points and queues. This includes remote check-in (electronic / home-printed boarding passes), automated bag drops (with home-printed bag tags) and self-boarding
  • Boarding should be made as efficient as possible with re-designed gate areas, congestion-reducing boarding priorities, and hand luggage limitations
  • Cleaning and sanitization of high touch areas in line with local regulations. This includes wide availability of hand sanitizer

In-flight, IATA foresees several layers of protective measures:

  • Face coverings It is important to use face coverings properly and to wash hands before and after putting them on and taking them off. Store face coverings hygienically when not in use.

    Encourage passengers to bring spare face coverings for longer journeys and plastic bags to store used face coverings. Consider having a supply of spare face coverings in airports and on aircraft.

    Aircraft operators can use existing powers, including those specified in conditions of carriage, to require passengers to wear face coverings before and during flights. Where airlines have made this a condition of carriage, they may decline carriage for passengers that do not comply.

    A face covering is not the same as the surgical masks or respirators used by healthcare and other workers as part of workplace PPE. These should be reserved for people who need to wear them at work, such as health and care workers. 
  • Simplified cabin service and pre-packaged catering to reduce interaction between passengers and crew
  • Reduced congregation of passengers in the cabin, for example by prohibiting queues for washrooms.
  • Enhanced and more frequent deep cleaning of the cabin

At the arrival airport, IATA foresees several layers of protective measures:

  • Temperature screening by trained government staff if required by authorities
  • Automated procedures for customs and border control including use of mobile applications and biometric technologies (which have already proven track record by some governments)
  • Accelerated processing and baggage reclaim to enable social distancing by reducing congestion and queuing
  • Health declarations and robust contact tracing are expected to be undertaken by governments to reduce the risk of imported chains of transmission

Passenger responsibility

All operators (airports, airlines, travel companies, other service providers) are responsible for clear health and safety communications with workers and passengers at the appropriate points in their journey.

Communications should reinforce passengers’ personal responsibility for the safety of themselves and others. Operators should consider:

  • how passengers can be informed of what measures are in place and why
  • what guidance should be given to passengers on expected behaviors

Note: - Since these rules can be changed in a short time, travelers should refer to the latest information published by the Government of India. We will update you if there are any changes.

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