Flyers Can Now Leave Airport Through Departure Gates If Flights Get Delayed

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The guidelines will help in ensuring less harassment for passengers. (News18 File for Representation)

BCAS Director General Zulfiquar Hasan on Monday said the guidelines were issued to airlines and airport operators on March 30 and are now in force.

Aviation security watchdog BCAS has issued new guidelines that will allow exit of passengers from an aircraft through an airport departure gate in case there is a long delay in operating the flight after boarding.

The latest directive from the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) comes against the backdrop of rising instances of congestion and flight delays, resulting in passengers getting stuck in aircraft after boarding for long hours.

BCAS Director General Zulfiquar Hasan on Monday said the guidelines were issued to airlines and airport operators on March 30 and are now in force. The guidelines will help in ensuring ”less harassment” for passengers and they would not have to keep sitting inside an aircraft for long hours after boarding, he said.

In case of long flight delays and other emergencies after boarding, passengers will be permitted to exit through the departure gate of the airport concerned. ”Airport operators have to make arrangements for the infrastructure, including for screening, for implementing the guidelines,” Hasan said and added that a decision on deboarding the passengers will be taken by airlines and security agencies concerned.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the function to mark the 38th Raising Day of the BCAS. On January 17, BCAS had slapped fines totalling Rs 1.80 crore on IndiGo and Mumbai airport operator MIAL over the incident of passengers having food on the airport tarmac.

A penalty of Rs 1.20 crore has been imposed on IndiGo, while the fine on MIAL is Rs 60 lakh. Many passengers rushed out of an IndiGo aircraft at the Mumbai airport, sat on the tarmac, and some were also seen having food there as soon as their diverted Goa-Delhi flight landed after a long delay on January 14.

Domestic air traffic is on the rise and around 3,500 flights take-off every day. Earlier, Hasan said congestion at airports is ”unwelcome” and that the agency has developed optimum standards and tools to tackle the issue.

The aviation security watchdog will also put in place smart security lanes as part of efforts to ensure better experience for passengers at the airports. According to him, full-body scanners are likely to be operational at Bangalore airport this month. In due course, these scanners will be rolled out at airports having annual passenger traffic of more than 5 million.

To deal with congestion at airports amid rising air traffic, BCAS and other authorities have taken various steps. Hasan said the changes due to the measures are visible even as he stressed that ”keeping pace with growth is a challenge”.

Among other measures, in February, the BCAS directed seven scheduled airlines to ensure timely arrival of baggage at airports after landing of aircraft. The directive had come against the backdrop of complaints of delay in passengers getting their baggage after arrival of flights.

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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)

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