KARACHI: Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) has issued Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for international flights in order to minimize risks associated with pandemic coronavirus.
According to the procedures, the aircraft operations shall be subject to full compliance of PCAA instructions regarding aircraft disinfection, passenger and crew protection measures. In order to ensure safety of passengers and crew (cockpit & cabin) and to minimize the risks associated with COVID-19, following measures are to be taken in case of passenger and chartered aircraft flight operations to and from Pakistan:-
1. The aircraft will be disinfected in accordance with procedure prescribed by PCAA at each station before passenger boarding. The disinfection certificate from the airline shall be countersigned/ verified by the CAA Inspectors. The disinfection is to be logged in aircraft documents. The Captain of the aircraft shall satisfy himself regarding full compliance of PCAA instructions on disinfection. Similar disinfection standard shall also be mandatory prior to embarkation from a foreign airport for flight to Pakistan.
2. An inventory of essential PPE, comprising protection suits, gloves, surgical masks, goggles, and N-95 masks, etc. shall be maintained in each aircraft.
3. The International Passenger Health Declaration form will be disseminated to all potential travellers inbound to Pakistan through the PCAA website, social media and through the airline website. Copy of the SOPs and the Passenger Health Declaration Form shall be given to the passenger in case the ticket is purchased through an airline office, or through a travel agency. In case of online booking, the printout of the SOPs and International Passenger Health Declaration Form shall be part of the online ticket.
4. Compliance of completion of International Passenger Health Declaration Form by passengers shall be the operator’s responsibility. The Form has to be distributed and Instructions have to be sufficiently repeated for awareness.
5. The International Passenger Declaration form is required to be filled and signed by all Passengers/ Guardians (in case of infants/ disabled) before check-in at the port of embarkation.
6. Passengers are to be scanned through thermal devices for COVID-19 before boarding.
7. Boarding passes shall be issued with a gap of at least one adjacent seat.
8. Boarding of all passengers and flight crew, including those traveling through chartered aircrafts, shall be through the passenger terminal building. No protocol would be allowed beyond the briefing area in the passenger terminal building. Boarding of passengers is to be done row wise/ zone wise in a manner that prescribed distance is maintained during boarding.
9. Passengers are to comply with the following instructions during air travel to Pakistan. These are in addition to any other instructions which are otherwise mandated for safe air travel, or as issued by the Cabin Crew from time to time during the flight :-
a. All the passengers are required to wear surgical mask throughout the duration of flight. The masks shall be provided by the airline at check in counter of the airport.
b. Passengers are to occupy only the seats allocated to them and not to change the seats in any case. They are also not allowed to congregate/ move about in the aircraft during the course of air travel.
c. Inflight temperature of each passenger shall be checked after an interval of 90 minutes.
d. Any passenger having symptoms or feelings of Covid-19, including but not limited to shortness of breath, coughing, fever and sore throat, must immediately inform the cabin crew.
10. All cockpit and cabin crew will wear appropriate Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) dress and surgical masks throughout the duration of flight without compromising on safety.
11. Cabin crew will provide hand sanitizer at least twice during the flight to each passenger except during the food/ beverage service.
12. Food and beverage service shall be limited to flights of duration longer than 150 minutes.
13. Three Aft rows shall be kept vacant for the passengers and crew displaying symptoms of illness.
14. The passengers and crew members displaying symptoms of illness will be isolated towards aft of the aircraft and kept there till the termination of flight. Such passenger will remain at this seat in the aircraft till such time the health crew is called in by the cabin crew for medical evacuation.
15. After the completion of boarding, the Senior Purser/ Lead Cabin Crew will take a picture of each aircraft zone displaying passengers seated with mask and gloves on. The photograph of Passenger Seating, taken by the Senior Purser/ Lead Cabin Crew after boarding, will be submitted to the concerned Health staff at the airport of disembarkation Staff electronically/ through Whatsapp. The airline will maintain copies of these images in its record.
16. Cabin Crew will spray disinfectant in the lavatory after every 60 minutes of flight.
17. Before landing, the Captain of the aircraft will confirm to the concerned Air Traffic Controller that International Passenger Health Declaration Form has been filled by all. The completed Form will be checked at the entrance to the boarding bridge at the airport by the PCAA/ ASF Staff. The Captain of the aircraft has to confirm to the ATC that ALL passengers on board have filled the Form otherwise no one shall be allowed to disembark the aircraft.
18. The cabin crew shall use alcohol-based disinfection wipes to clean and disinfect their hands. When the crew is not sure whether their hands are clean, they should avoid touching the nose, mouth and eyes with their hands. After touching or disposing wastes, hands should be cleaned with hand sanitizer or soap.
19. Upon contacting ill passengers (having symptoms of COVID-19), cabin attendants must ensure use of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE):
a. Gloves: Cabin attendants’ shall wear double-layered disposable rubber gloves. If there are more than two ill passengers on board, hands should be disinfected before contacting other passengers.
b. Masks: Cabin attendants shall wear medical protection masks.
c. Goggles: Reusable goggles shall be promptly sterilized and dried every time after use.
20. Disembarkation will be done row wise in an orderly manner from front to back ensuring social distance.
21. Seat Map will be provided by the airline staff along with the passenger manifest to the PCAA and Health staff, and the receipt will be obtained from the receiving party along with name and designation.
22. All passenger luggage and cargo shall be disinfected by the airline soon after unloading from the aircraft. The airline shall be responsible for provision of appropriate masks and gloves to the staff involved with handling the checked baggage and cargo.
23. Passengers shall not be allowed to pick up their luggage from the baggage carousel themselves. Instead, the respective airline/ GHA staff shall pick up the luggage from the belt and place it in such a way that each piece is at a safe distance from the other. The passengers shall wait behind tensa barriers placed in a way that social distance is maintained. Groups of passengers, no more than 10 each, shall be allowed to pick up their luggage at one time. The airline/ GHA staff deputed for handling luggage shall wear protective masks and gloves.
24. All passengers and flight crew, including chartered aircrafts, shall arrive via the passenger terminal building. Upon arrival all passengers will be guided to the arrival lounge by PCAA staff
25. The Passenger Health Declaration form will be collected from each passenger by Health staff in the arrival lounge.
26. Upon arrival in the arrival lounge the passengers and flight crew shall be subjected to thermal scanning.
27. All passengers shall indicate their preference to the airline for either a paid quarantine facility, or a government operated free quarantine facility. The airline concerned shall also decide the quarantine location preference for their flight crew. Airlines shall be responsible for communicating the preference of each passenger to its station manager or its ground handler, at least 24 hours prior to the arrival of the flight at the destination airport in Pakistan.
28. All passengers and flight crew shall be quarantined for seven days at the location decided by the authorities as per para above. The transportation to the quarantine location shall be arranged by the concerned authorities. The passengers shall be responsible for payment of room rent and food cost (if applicable) during the quarantine duration, as required by the authorities. No meet and greet at the airport shall be allowed for passengers arriving by international flights.
29. The passengers and flight crew may be subjected to initial swab test upon arrival at the quarantine facility. The passengers and flight crew shall be required to undergo a second swab test on the sixth day in quarantine. The passengers and flight crew shall be required to stay at the quarantine location and wait for the required time involved in completion of laboratory test process.
a. Anyone with positive test result shall be retained at the quarantine or moved to another relevant location.
b. Those with negative test result shall be allowed to leave with strict instructions and guidance for home quarantine for a further period of seven days.
30. Data of all passengers and flight crew with their mobile numbers will be kept for record and further follow up.