Airlines will not serve meals on flights that have a duration of fewer than two hours in the wake of a spike in coronavirus cases in India, the April-12 directive issued by the civil aviation ministry will come into force from today. There are no curbs on inflight meals on international flights and domestic flights longer than two hours, but the meals' servicing will be staggered among adjoining seats, the order added.
The ministry had permitted the airlines to serve in-flight meals under certain conditions when scheduled domestic flights were resumed on May 25 following the COVID-19 lockdown last year. Modifying the earlier order, the ministry's fresh directive said, "The airlines, operating flights on domestic sectors, may provide meals services on board, where the in-flight duration is two hours or more."
The decision has been taken amid "the increasing threat of COVID-19 and its variants."
Here are the full guidelines:
- In case of a flight with a flight duration of more than two hours, tray set-up, plates and cutlery will be completely disposable with no re-use, or cleaned and disinfected rotables will be used.
- Used disposable trays, crockeries or cutleries will not be re-used. Used rotables will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before re-use.
- In all classes, tea or coffee or alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage services will be in disposable can containers, bottles or glasses. There will be no pouring service and beverages will be served in single-use disposable units.
- All used disposable and reusable meal trays will be disposed of in the trash bags by the crew at the end of the meal service crew will have to wear a fresh set of gloves for every meal beverage service.
- The passengers would be informed of the above practices for strict compliance before the start of catering services by way of passenger announcements.
- The servicing of inflight meals is to be staggered among the adjacent seats as far as possible.