Airports to close check-in early, boarding will occur row-wise

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Airport check-in counters will now close an hour before departure, while boarding is to be carried out row by row from May 4 so that social distancing can be maintained and aircraft and passenger baggage can be sanitised thoroughly.

Airlines have till now followed a gate close time of 45 minutes before departure and ensure quick turnaround of aircraft, which will change to more time on ground for deep cleaning and sanitisation.

On Wednesday, GoAir said it would open check-in counters three hours before departure time and close them one hour prior. Boarding would be row-wise with middle seats kept vacant.

‘Proactive measures’

“These measures fully incorporate the recommendations of the DGCA along with some additional measures that the airline is proactively taking,” it said.

The airline announced a slew of measures as it prepares to launch flights from May 4. IndiGo too has officially announced a staggered resumption of flights from May 4. Air India, SpiceJet, Air Asia and Vistara too have opened bookings from May 4.

Strict social distancing would be enforced during check-in and boarding, and on aerobridges and buses.

Ground time between flights will be increased to allow cleaning and disinfection of all surfaces in the cabin, galley and restrooms of the aircraft which come in contact with crew or passengers.

At airports staff will wipe down all kiosks and counters frequently with disinfectant and airport ticket offices and back offices will be fully disinfected and sanitised each night. Aircraft on ground for the night will also go through deep cleaning schedules.

“Passengers will be encouraged to print their boarding passes at home to minimise interactions at the airport,” officials said.

IndiGo has already announced that it will not offer onboard sale of meals for some time.

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