After the government announced that domestic and international flights could resume from August 17, authorities concerned are busy preparing protocols to manage the flights and passengers during the coronavirus pandemic.

The spokesperson for Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA), Kamal Prasad Bhattarai, said the government was preparing a first draft of the protocols for flight resumption. “We are preparing safety protocols in three sets — before, during, and after the travel,” he said.

According to Bhattarai, the protocols would require passengers to ensure that they are not infected with coronavirus and have a negative PCR test report before boarding flights. Passengers with fever, common cold and other illnesses will not be allowed to board flights.

During the flight, passengers would have to follow safety protocols of the airline companies, maintain social distance, and comply as directed by the crew members.

“However, we are still working on how to manage passengers once they come out of the airport,” he said.

“Issues such as whether passengers will be sent for home quarantine or the government will manage quarantine facilities for them, and how to monitor them have yet to be decided.”

Meanwhile, Civil Aviation Authority Nepal (CAAN) has almost completed its preparations for flight resumption.

The spokesperson for CAAN, Raj Kumar Chhetri, said, “We have prepared safety protocols based on which the airports will be operating. And now we are looking into applications from the airline companies.”

Till date, around 12 international airlines have submitted applications.

The Tribhuwan International Airport will be operated in compliance of ‘Guidance to Airlines, Airports and Ground Services for Operations during COVID-19’ prepared by CAAN.

According to Chhetri, only 25 per cent of regular international flights will be allowed to operate initially.