CAAN readying health and safety guidelines at airports

Domestic Airport Kathmandu

The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) is renovating the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) and also other domestic airports across the country with a focus on maintaining social distance.

As part of keeping the airport safe and hygiene after flight operations resume the aviation regulator has started painting markers at the departure area of the domestic terminal at TIA. Such markings have been made at ticket counters, customs office, checking areas and boarding areas at the domestic terminal.

After completing the arrangements at the domestic terminal safety precautions will be maintained at the international terminal too, said Raj Kumar Chhetri, spokesperson for CAAN. “Such markings, sanitisation measures and health check-ups will be arranged soon at other domestic airports as well,” he said. “We are making these arrangements as quickly as we can so that we are ready when the government directs us to resume flight operations,” he added.

Tourism Minister Yogesh Bhattarai has also stated that domestic flights can be operated in areas with low risk of coronavirus infection. Meanwhile, CAAN is preparing guidelines for the operation of domestic flights after the lockdown is lifted.

As per CAAN’s plan, health safety measures will be implemented for all activities including boarding, managing passengers and security checking processes. Along with maintaining social distancing while passengers board and sit in the aircraft, many more changes will be introduced in the new safety guidelines.

According to CAAN, the new safety measures will ensure health safety of not only the passengers but of all the aviation workers. CAAN has also issued a safety measure guideline for its staffers which needs to be implemented when they are working.

As airports are gateways for travellers and also one of the most crowded areas with high risk of the infection spreading, stakeholders had also recommended the government earlier to practice new rules at the
airports. Meanwhile, domestic airline companies have started preparing their own separate safety guidelines to operate their offices and flights.

Taking advantage of the lockdown period CAAN has also continued with the construction and renovation of international airports. “Construction and rehabilitation of international airports are going on rapidly while renovation at domestic airports is also moving forward,” Chhetri said. “Although a few large construction works were halted due to some technical reasons they will resume within the next week,” he stated.

All international and domestic flights have been halted till May 31. However, with permission from CAAN rescue flights, freighter flights and flights related to transport of medical and other essential supplies are
being conducted. Moreover, domestic helicopter movement has increased after the government directed chopper operators to conduct emergency flights.

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