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New Guidelines: Flight Delayed? Passengers Can Now Deboard Through Departure Gates

In the latest development, the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), the prominent aviation security watchdog, has issued fresh guidelines to tackle the issue of prolonged flight delays. These guidelines, which came into effect on March 30, are in response to the growing incidents of flight delays and congestion experienced at airports, often resulting in passengers being stranded inside aircraft for extended periods post-boarding. According to reports, these new directives are aimed at assisting passengers facing such distressing situations.

BCAS Director General Zulfiquar Hasan emphasized that the objective of these guidelines is to facilitate the deboarding of passengers through departure gates at airports in cases of prolonged delays or emergencies encountered after boarding. Hasan clarified that it is the responsibility of airport operators to arrange the necessary infrastructure, including screening facilities, to implement these guidelines effectively. The decision to permit passengers to deboard will be taken jointly by airlines and relevant security agencies.

Previously, Hasan had highlighted BCAS's ongoing efforts to tackle unwanted congestion at airports by setting optimal standards and deploying tools to mitigate the issue. Additionally, reports suggest that BCAS intends to introduce smart security lanes to enhance the overall passenger experience. Hasan also mentioned that the deployment of full-body scanners is anticipated to commence at Bangalore airport this month, with plans for gradual implementation at airports with an annual passenger traffic exceeding 5 million.

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These latest directives follow BCAS's imposition of fines totaling INR 1.80 crore on IndiGo and Mumbai airport operator MIAL on January 17. This action was taken in connection with an incident where passengers were served food on the airport tarmac. Furthermore, in February, BCAS instructed seven scheduled airlines to ensure the prompt delivery of baggage upon aircraft landing, addressing concerns regarding delayed baggage retrieval by passengers.

Hasan reiterated that the primary goal of these guidelines is to minimize inconvenience for passengers by enabling them to exit through the departure gate in instances of prolonged delays or emergencies after boarding. While airport operators are entrusted with providing the necessary infrastructure, the decision regarding passenger disembarkation will be a collaborative effort involving airlines and security agencies.

April 2, 2024 11:52 a.m. 16911

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