RAWALPINDI: The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has amended its standard operating procedures (SOPs) meant to curb the spread of Covid-19 for passengers from Sept 2 to Oct 31.
The authority directed all scheduled and chartered airline operators, ground handling agents and private operators to ensure strict compliance with the revised SOPs.
Earlier, the CAA had issued SOPs for chartered and private flight operations between Aug 26 and Oct 31, deferring social distancing on domestic flights.
“In the larger interest of travelling passengers, the competent authority has deferred implementation of para 7 of the SOP for domestic passengers, chartered, private aircraft flights for a period of 48 hours from August 26, 2020,” the CAA’s standard operating procedures said.
Social distancing among passengers made non-compulsory
However, under the fresh SOPs issued on Sept 1, social distancing — gap of at least one adjacent seat between passengers — has been made non-compulsory.
Under the new SOPs, the aircraft operations will be subject to full compliance with CAA instructions regarding aircraft disinfection as well as passenger and crew protection measures.
To ensure safety of passengers and crew and minimise the risks associated with Covid-19, certain measures have been adopted for all types of passenger and chartered aircraft flight operations within Pakistan.
No person, except the passenger and airport staff, will be allowed to proceed beyond the parking area and the drivers will have to drop passengers in front of domestic departures. In case the vehicle has to wait, the driver will have to take the car to the parking lot.
Airport managers will have to ensure social distancing at every stage of the departure formalities while the Airport Security Force will see that no person, except the passenger, remained in the concourse area.
The aircraft will be disinfected in accordance with the procedures prescribed by the CAA at each station before the passengers board.
In case of domestic flights, the disinfection certificate from the airline/operator shall be countersigned or verified by the CAA staff.
The disinfectant brand’s name must be logged in the aircraft documents while the captain should express his satisfaction over compliance of CAA instructions on disinfection. The entity carrying out disinfection must be a CAA registered handling agent.
An inventory of essential personal protection equipment (PPE), comprising protection suits, gloves, surgical masks, goggles and N-95 masks should be maintained in each aircraft.
SOPs during flight
Passengers will be bound to comply with instructions issued during air travel in Pakistan. These are in addition to other directives which are otherwise mandated for safe air travel or as issued by the cabin crew from time to time during the flight.
Food and beverages will be served on flights with proper packaging and precautions while the cabin crew will spray disinfectant in the lavatory after every use. All lavatories will be available for passenger use to avoid congestion.
The cabin crew must use alcohol-based disinfection wipes to clean and disinfect their hands or use sanitiser or soap after touching or disposing of waste.
Passengers will be disembarked row-wise in an orderly manner while ensuring social distancing.
All medical PPEs, if used during flights, should be disposed of while reusable items should be properly sanitised before next use.
Data of all passengers and flight crew with their mobile numbers will be kept for record and further follow up.
Published in Dawn, September 3rd, 2020