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No penalty for air passengers for dropping face masks: Ministry

No penalty for air passengers for dropping face masks: Ministry

No penalty for air passengers for dropping face masks: Ministry
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By Jomy Jos Pullokaran  Nov 16, 2022 5:34:13 PM IST (Published)

Lifting a key COVID-related curb, the Ministry of Civil Aviation on Wednesday said air travellers should preferably wear masks in domestic or international flights, but they will be not be penalised if they go mask-free.

The Union Ministry of Civil Aviation on Wednesday, November 16, relaxed COVID-19-related regulations, stating that air passengers will not be penalised for not wearing face masks inside a plane.

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In the review order, the ministry said preferably air passengers should use face masks during domestic or international flights but in-flight announcements will not mention any penalty for not wearing a face mask

Back in March, the ministry had removed the PPE kit requirement for air crew members. It also did away with the need to keep three seats vacant on international flights for medical emergencies and allowed security personnel at airports to resume pat-down searches of passengers.

According to data released by the aviation safety regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), domestic air passenger volume grew 46.54 percent to 10.35 million in September over the same period last year.

Indian domestic carriers (excluding newly-launched Akasa Air) had flown a total of 7.06 million passengers on the local routes, the data showed. Akasa Air commenced its flight services on domestic routes on August 7 this year.

The average passenger load factor (PLF) of these carriers stood at 77.5 percent against 72.5 percent in August 2022, as per DGCA data. PLF is an airline metric that measures how much of an airline’s passenger-carrying capacity is used.

In terms of market share, leading carrier IndiGo cornered 57 percent of the total domestic traffic pie, carrying 59.72 lakh passengers across its domestic network followed by full-service carrier Vistara, which flew 9.96 lakh passengers with 9.6 percent market share.

The combined market share of Vistara, Air India, and AirAsia India stood at 24.7 percent in September. Besides, Vistara also had the best on-time performance with 91 percent of its flights arriving and departing from four key airports — Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Bengaluru — on time.

India reported a single-day rise of 501 new coronavirus infections, while the active cases have declined from 7,918 to 7,561, the Health Ministry said on November 16. Currently, the total COVID cases stand at 4,46,66,676, while the death toll has climbed to 5,30,535 with two more fatalities — one each from Delhi and Rajasthan.

The active cases comprised 0.02 percent of the total infections and the recovery rate increased to 98.79 percent, according to the data. The number of people who have recovered from the disease surged to 4,41,28,580 and the case fatality rate was 1.19 percent.

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