25pc seats on flights to remain empty for maintaining physical distance

Muktadir Rashid | Published: 13:20, May 13,2020


The Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh has formulated a 39-point guideline for operators, passengers and crew members as precautionary measures in order to operate domestic and international flights in future amid the spread of COVID-19.

In a circular issued on Sunday, CAAB chairman Air Vice-Marshal M Mafidur Rahman said, ‘Allocation of seats in the aircraft shall be done keeping in mind the segregation process (minimum 25 per cent seat vacant) so that social distancing is maintained.’

‘Always keep at least one seat gap if the passengers are not from same family and last/first one row of the seat vacant for any suspected passengers,’ the notification read.

The CAAB chairman told New Age that they were planning to open the flight soon.

In the guidelines, the CAAB said, ‘Adequate hand sanitiser and tissue paper shall be made available for passengers at final boarding counter. Passengers shall be allowed to carry small hand sanitiser bottle (max 100 ml) in their carry-on baggage’.

The operators shall not provide food and drinks on flights of less than 1 hour and 30 minutes, the instruction read.

‘For medium and long-haul flight, normal meals should be provided, while wet and cold dishes, and edible ice cubes and cold drinks should be avoided,’ it added.

It read that at least two PPEs and two Universal Precaution Kits should be carried all the time in the aircraft for the suspected passengers or for the use of the crew members to protect the members who would be assisting potentially infectious cases of suspected COVID-19.

It said that cabin crew should wear N95 or equivalent protective facial masks or medical protection masks, goggles (if any), disposable rubber gloves, and change facial masks every 4 hours.

All operators are required to submit a certificate of disinfection to the airport health authority after completion of each flight, the instructions said.

The decision was made following a series of meetings between the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh and flight operators in Dhaka.

One of the executives who attended the meeting at the CAAB headquarters told New Age that the CAAB was planning to allow flight operations if the virus situation not worsens.

The executive said that the flight fare would be costlier than normal times while Bangladeshi operators were also worried whether they would get permission to fly to foreign countries until their airports were made operational amid post COVID-19 situation.

Air Commodore Md Khalid Hossain, member (operations and planning) of CAAB, said that they were yet to finalise the date but they were discussing what could be the best practice so that once the flight starts, physical distancing could be maintained on ground and on board.

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