Domestic flights will begin from today and the major responsibility to ensure a safe and hassle-free flight will lie on the shoulders of airports. So how much Delhi International Airport is geared up for the safe operations in the time of Covid-19? The Daily Guardian speaks to Videh Kumar Jaipuriar, CEO of Delhi International Airport Limited, about the preparations for smooth domestic operations. Excerpts:
Q. Since domestic operations are commencing, what are the preparations at one of the two biggest and busiest airports under your supervision?
A. Around 190 flights will depart from Delhi Airport today. In the last two months, we had discussions with the government and all other stakeholders to prepare detailed SOPs. So that all those passengers who enter Delhi have a safe journey. We will suggest travellers to carry their boarding passes from home and if someone doesn’t, they can still take it from the “scan and fly” machine by scanning the barcode on their ticket through the phone.
We have added three new processes at the airport: testing of temperature, baggage sensitisation and the Aarogya Setu app or self-declaration certificate. It will be ensured that baggage drop is touchless, however, we advise travellers to paste paper on their baggage with their PNR and name so that they can straight away drop it at baggage counter and will get the receipt via text message. Also, in security clearance, we have done away with pat-down and stamping by CISF. Social distancing will be the mantra at the airport.
Q. Airports have centralised air conditioning which could be a cause of concern during Covid-19. What are the arrangements on that part?
A. Air circulation has been changed at the airport. We will ensure no risk for anyone inside the airport and have taken three steps: all the air-handling units have UV lights to disinfect the air, Hepta filter will further purify the air, and fresh air injections will purify the air every 10 minutes.
Q. Is there a dedicated place at the airport where in case of any emergency one can be taken if they show certain symptoms of coronavirus?
A. We have made arrangements outside the terminal for such situations where medical facilities will be available for any symptomatic passenger or staff. They will be referred to that facility and government doctors will take a further call.
Q. There will not be any physical checking of the boarding pass and ID card. Also, stamping the boarding pass after thorough scanning has been done away with. Are you confident about security at the airport?
A. There will not be any compromise on the security aspect. All these new processes that we have added at the Delhi airport will enhance the security and nothing will be risked to maintain social distancing.
Q. Has anything been done about food facility at the airport? Will it be safe to eat there?
A. To ensure that it is a completely touchless process at the food court or in retail, we have a food app called HOI. One can place the order and it will be served most safely and hygienically, so there is no need to worry.