File photo: People seen wearing protective face masks as a precautionary measure amid Covid-19 pandemic at Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport, Delhi. (Sanjeev Verma/HT PHOTO)
File photo: People seen wearing protective face masks as a precautionary measure amid Covid-19 pandemic at Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport, Delhi. (Sanjeev Verma/HT PHOTO)

‘No meals for passengers on flights below 2-hour duration’: Aviation ministry

The ministry, however, has allowed meals for other flights with a flying time of more than 120 minutes.
By Neha LM Tripathi
PUBLISHED ON APR 12, 2021 06:37 PM IST

No meals will be provided to passengers on flights with a flying time of less than two hours, the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) said in an order on Monday. The move comes in a bid to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. The ministry, however, has allowed meals for other flights with a flying time of more than 120 minutes. Such airlines will have to provide disposable cutlery and serve only pre-packed food. This order will come into effect from April 15.

Tea, coffee, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages have been allowed to be served only in disposable cans or bottles or glasses. “There will be no pouring services and beverages will be served in single-use disposable units and all the disposables will be disposed of in trash bags or carts by the crew at the end of the meal service,” the order read.

The order dated April 12 stated that the airlines can serve pre-packed snacks, pre meals, packaged beverages as per their policies only for flights with a duration of two hours or more. However, the MoCA laid down the conditions for serving meals. It said that the tray set up, plates and cutlery in all classes should be completely disposable. It also said that none of the disposables should be re-used and used rotables should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before reusing them. Components in an aircraft that need to be roated or reused at frequent intervals are defined as rotables.

The MoCA has asked all the operating crew to wear a fresh set of gloves for every meal or beverage service. It also asked the airlines to inform passengers about these amended norms by making announcements. “The service of inflight meals to be staggered among the adjacent seats as far as possible,” the order concluded.

The Central government had restricted serving onboard meals after it resumed flying for the domestic sector in a phased manner. This was being done as a precautionary measure to avoid the spread of the Sars-CoV2 virus. However, on August 29, it allowed selling onboard meals which is a significant source of ancillary revenue for low-cost airlines.

While for domestic flights, only pre-packed snacks and beverages were allowed, airlines operating international flights were allowed to serve hot meals and alcohol.

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