Pilot in command of a flight should promptly inform the Air Traffic Controller (ATC) concerned in case anyone onboard has suspected communicable disease, according to aviation regulator DGCA. The requirement is being put in place to “facilitate provision of medical equipment and personnel for the management of public health risk on arrival of aircraft”. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has asked all commercial as well as private plane operators to establish procedures to promptly report a suspected communicable disease to the ATC. ATCs ensure safe and expeditious flow of air traffic. While the pilot in command of a particular flight has to report to the ATC, airline operators should also include the procedures to be followed in such cases in the “operations manual for guidance of the operational personnel”, an operations circular issued by the DGCA said.
“A communicable disease could be suspected if a person on board has a fever that is associated with certain symptoms eg appearing obviously unwell, persistent coughing, impaired breathing, persistent diarrhoea, persistent vomiting, skin rash, bruising or bleeding without previous history or confusion of recent onset,” it said. A regulatory official said the operations circular has been issued following an International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) directive. While informing the ATC, the pilot in command should provide various details, including number of persons onboard and estimated time of arrival. All operators have been asked to include provisions of the circular in their operations manual by December 31 or during the next revision, which is earlier. The circular is applicable to scheduled, non-scheduled, scheduled commuter and private category operators. India is one of the fastest growing domestic aviation markets in the world, recording double-digit growth for more than two years.