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Wednesday, March 22, 2023
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Covid-19 precautions

The rapid advance of the COVID-19 virus has affected almost every sphere of life and the aviation industry is not an exception. As the number of COVID-19 cases is dropping in the country and elsewhere, many industries including the airline operators in Pakistan are becoming complacent about abiding the guidelines approved by the aviation authorities. A number of violations were reported, which has prompted the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) to issue a stern warning. It has been issued in the warning that those who failed to comply with the United Arab Emirates General Civil Aviation Authority’s (GCAA) Safety Decision 2020-20 on all flights to and from UAE airports, could face stern action, including suspension of permission to operate flights along the route. So far, certain violations have been found that related to improper seating arrangement during flights and crew members were found not using full PPE (personal protective equipment), which are not acceptable.

After the lifting of a travel ban by the UAE on vaccinated residents from several countries, including Pakistan, India and Bangladesh on Sept 12, these violations can trigger fresh complications for the regulators to ensure air travel of many passengers leading to unnecessary inconvenience as well as increasing vulnerability of catching the disease. Since the start of the pandemic, airline operators have also suffered a huge loss. Passenger traffic has plummeted. Planes are flying half full or less, and airports are nearly empty, despite efforts to calm travellers with intense cleaning of aircraft and terminals. As the flight operations have restored by the GCAA, these airline operators are in a hurry to compensate for their losses. Amid this rush, they are accommodating more passengers while violating guidelines. Aviation is a critical industry and its recovery from the COVID-19 economic slowdown will rely on the ability of airlines to fully resume the movement of goods and people while following the guidelines set by the concerned authorities. Besides the managements of airline operators, travellers can make a difference as they can protest against any violation of the safety regime during flight operations.

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