The Civil Aviation Ministry has changed the standard operating procedure for domestic and international flights to allow airlines to serve meals on board. Passengers can now be served pre-packed meals, snacks and beverages as per the policy of the airline. For international flights, airlines would now be able to serve hot meals with limited beverage options as per standard practices.
The government has asked airlines to use disposable plates, cutlery and set-up plates with no re-use. Tea, coffee and other beverages would also be served in disposable glasses, bottles, cans and containers. Beverages would not be poured for the passengers and would, instead, be served in single-use disposable units.
For every meal and beverage service, the crew will have to wear a fresh set of gloves.
Along with means, in-flight entertainment on both domestic and international flights have also been allowed. Government has asked airlines to ensure that disposable earphones are used or are cleaned and disinfected before boarding of passengers.
Airlines must also clean and disinfect all touchpoints after every flight, as per the SOP.
When flights resumed on May 25 for domestic routes, the government had banned meal and beverage services as well as in-flight entertainment. International flights resumed on May 7 under the Vande Bharat Mission. Domestic flights were suspended from March 25 and international flights from March 23 amid COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.