AAI to levy fines on Covid norm violators at all its airports

NEW DELHI: The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has decided to levy fines on travellers violating Covid norms at its airports.
The state-run authority, that operates about 70 airports in India including those in the metros of Kolkata and Chennai, did not specify the amount of fine it will levy at different places.
“We will be levying fines on those not observing Covid protocol as per as per AAI Management Regulations 2003,” said AAI spokesman J B Singh.
While AAI did not give the fine amount, the “penalties” section under its management regulations 2003 notification says, “Any person contravening any provisions.. shall be punishable with fine which may extend to Rs 500…”
Singh added the authority is also going to clearly state at all airport entry points — “no mask, no entry” — and is making it mandatory for all concessionaires that include food, beverage and other retail outlets at its airports to refuse serving passengers without masks.
He listed the steps AAI is taking to increase awareness for Covid protocol at airports: “Standees shall be placed at all entry gates (stating) ‘no mask -no entry.’ All concessionaires shall mandatorily place standees next to their counters highlighting ‘no mask – no service’.”
Additionally, Singh said meetings are being held with all stakeholders and airlines to avoid congestion.
“AAI and CISF staff may be deployed on duty for creating awareness. A team may be constituted (at each airport) to carry out regular inspection on city side and terminal building to ensure implementation of the instructions regarding COVID-19 protocol,” he added.
Bangalore Airport told TOI on Tuesday wilful violators inside Bangalore Airport terminal building who refuse to wear masks despite being requested to do so will be either denied boarding or be evicted from the terminal.
Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL) spokesperson said it is levying a fine of Rs 250 under state government rules on Covid norm violators outside the terminal building — like those coming to drop or receive passengers or those in car parking.
“So far, 16 people in the airport premises (outside terminal building) have been fined for not adhering to the government order,” she said.
Union aviation minister H S Puri had on Tuesday warned, saying: “Advisory issued to all airports to ensure compliance of Covid-19 Protocol. People must wear face masks (covering nose and mouth) and maintain social distance. We are moving in direction of punitive action by police against passengers who don’t comply.”
Accordingly, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Tuesday directed all airport operators to explore “the possibility of taking punitive action, such as levy of spot fines… so as to serve a deterrent for violation of Covid-19 protocol.”
The DGCA conducted surprise checks at several airports in past few days to see how the local managements, security and other agencies were tackling this issue.
“During surveillance of some airports, it has come to notice that compliance is not satisfactory. All airport operators, therefore, are requested to ensure that the instructions on Covid-19 protocol of wearing face masks properly, covering nose and mouth, as well as maintaining social distance norms within airport premises are followed scrupulously,” the DGCA circular said.

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