Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport all set to welcome 2,350 Indians stranded abroad amid coronavirus pandemic
Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport all set to welcome 2,350 Indians stranded abroad amid coronavirus pandemic
PTI Photo

Following the initiative taken by the Government of India for facilitating the return of 14,800 Indian nationals stranded abroad, GVK MIAL managing Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) will cater to approximately 2350 Indians in the span of 7 days, starting May 10, 2020.

The airport is all set to support the initiative and has put together a Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs) to ensure the safety of the passengers. The repatriation operations will see CSMIA catering to 10 flights and 6 transit flight in the course of 7 days welcoming stranded Indian nationals from countries such as U.K., U.S.A., Singapore, Malaysia, Bangladesh, and Philippines commencing with 4 flights on 10th May 2020.

CSMIA will be complying with the government guidelines during the repatriation where the airport will ensure the safety and wellbeing of the passengers, right from the time the flight lands at CSMIA and passengers disembark the aircraft till they leave the terminal building. Two dedicated aerobridges have been identified for repatriation flights, along with provision of proper infrastructure to the APHO for the screening of passengers before entering the Immigration area.

The passengers will need to maintain a physical distance of a minimum of 2 meters through distinctive markings laid out at the airport and are required to wear face mask and hand gloves during the entire course of their journey. In addition, the airport has set-up 30 immigration counters for undertaking the necessary procedures and ensuring quickest clearance of the arriving passengers.

Besides, CSMIA is making special arrangements for the stranded Indian nationals arriving at the airport by arranging F&B facilities for the passengers in the arriving hall. The airport will be undertaking preventive measures by disinfecting the baggage before loading on the conveyor belt and providing sanitized baggage trolleys to the passengers along with hand sanitizers being stationed across various touchpoints at the airport. Arriving passengers will also be escorted by CISF personnel until they are handed over to the state authorities.

CSMIA will be operating with 1/3rd of its staff who will be provided with all essential PPEs such as face mask, hand gloves, sanitizers, as per the directive by the MOHFW. The airport maintenance staff will continue to follow the comprehensive 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, railings, amongst others.

Furthermore, the APHO, Immigration, Custom, and CISF personnel who would be coming in direct contact with the arriving passengers, will be provided with face shield and all appropriate PPEs for the protection and safety of the individuals. The arriving passengers need to strictly follow the protocols issued by the Government at all times, which include wearing of masks, environmental hygiene, respiratory hygiene, hand hygiene, amongst others.

For the benefit of the passengers, limited number of Forex and Sim card outlets will be made operational at the airport so that passengers can download and install “Aarogya Setu” app on their mobile phones prior to proceeding on quarantine.

Provisions have been made in the eventuality that any symptomatic passenger is identified at the airport; the passenger would be immediately isolated and moved to the separate area earmarked for the purpose. Additionally, designated airport ambulances have been kept on standby to shift the symptomatic passengers to designated isolation centres.

The State Government of Maharashtra has made arrangements for asymptomatic passengers from Mumbai to be moved to identified quarantine facilities like hotels depending on their preference while those from outside Mumbai will be transported by the state to their respective district headquarters for institutional quarantine. For this purpose, Government of Maharashtra has also established a Help Desk at the airport to guide the arriving passengers.

CSMIA has facilitated total repatriation of over 8500 passengers with 51 evacuation flights since March 25th to May 09th. CSMIA facilitated evacuation flights to destinations such as Tehran, Zurich, Bali, Addis Ababa, Paro, London, Atlanta, Singapore, Paris, Frankfurt, Kenya, Muscat and Tokyo by working closely with the aviation community as well as the respective embassies. The airport also witnessed the arrival of Air New Zealand for the first time in Mumbai. Of the total repatriation flights facilitated by CSMIA, Atlanta saw over 2000 passengers evacuated with a total of 08 flights operated by Delta Air Lines, highest to any destination from Mumbai during this lockdown period. London was the other destination with 6 flights operated by Air India and 2 flights each by Virgin Atlantic and British Airways. Furthermore, the national carrier Air India operated 6 flights from CSMIA to destinations like Frankfurt, Paris, and London, amongst others.

CSMIA is working relentlessly to help stranded passengers return to their home countries and is taking adequate measures for their safety and wellbeing. The airport has put up a stringent screening process right from the time passengers arrive at the airport to the time they leave the terminal building.

Post the government announcing the extension of the lockdown in India following the outbreak of coronavirus and suspension of commercial passenger flight, the airport has been operating with a curtailed staff and working endlessly to handle cargo, charter, medical evacuation, military flights and freighter services. CSMIA continues to take all the necessary steps to provide top-notch security, gold class services and numerous facilities, making it one of the frontrunners in the Indian Aviation Industry.

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