While there is no firm date at the moment, the Mumbai Airport is getting set to prepare for a world where the Quarantine ends and they are back in business. A full house is going to be far at the moment, but the protection of the passengers and the staff from the CoronaVirus will be of prime importance when flights resume. In view of the Mumbai Airport Reopening (at some point in time) in the near future, the CSMIA has rolled out a preview of what to expect when the airport is going to begin being available to passengers to fly again.
The airport has formulated SOPs for post-lockdown safety of the passengers which include social distancing, stringent thermal screening, positioning temporary quarantine centres and also continues to sanitize and disinfect the airport to ensure safety and well-being of the passengers, once operations resume. Thermal screening of passenger at all entry gates will be necessary before they enter the airport terminal.
1.5 Metres distancing between passengers
To enable safety precautions at the airport, CSMIA plans to maintain social distancing through distinctive markings at both the terminals, maintaining 1.5 meters distance between each passenger. The special markings will be spread across the entry gate, check-in counters, self-check-in kiosks, security checkpoints, food courts, lounge area and the boarding area amongst others. Furthermore, the seating arrangements at the food court as well as in the terminal building are reshuffled in a manner that promotes social distancing.
Here is a slide from the internal slide deck of CSMIA Terminal 2 which prescribes the social distancing norms around the check-in areas. This is going to vastly reduce capacity, as we can all see and slow down how things will work. A note in the GVK deck notes that alternate check-in desks should be opened.
Quarantine Centres at CSMIA
Additionally, CSMIA has also created quarantine centres at both the terminals of the airport in case if any passenger shows symptoms of the virus during the screening which will be conducted before entering the terminal building. The airport will be assigning their personnel to assist travellers at the self-check-in kiosks to help with the boarding copy and other details along with stationing hand sanitizers at all the touchpoints. Departure Visitor lounges (Gate 3 or 7) will most probably be used as an isolation room for suspected passengers.
In a bid to enhance passenger safety and lower the chances of spread of the virus, CSMIA will put special emphasis on the need for passengers to wear masks and gloves during the entire course of their travel. CSMIA will encourage passengers to check-in online, use card payment transactions and contactless payment at the airport restaurants and retail stores, to avoid contact.
The airport will open with 50% staff strength
GVK MIAL has put forth mandatory standard operating procedures (SOP) for the stakeholders and staff. In the initial phase of resuming operations, the airport will be functioning with 50 % staff strength as per the directives from the government.
The airport maintenance staff have been provided with renewed and effective cleaning procedures to efficiently sanitize and disinfect the terminal building including the vital areas where human hands come to play such as elevator buttons, escalators, immigration counters, to name a few. For instance, all trolleys banks to be sanitized after every 4 hours.
I’ve gone through the entire internal slide deck for Terminal 2 operations once the airport opens up, and what it looks like is that arriving at an airport will here on be like playing a game of minesweeper, or to use the language of kids, will be all about jumping puddles. Everyone will need to ensure they are at an adequate distance from everyone else. Passengers will be sequentially disembarked and embarked on the aircraft, and this means turnaround times will also increase.
What do you make of travelling in the post-CoVid-19 era and Mumbai Airport Reopening in these times?
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