The sale of tickets for flights remains suspended until September 1 due to the coronavirus health crisis, but according to reports, planes could begin returning to the skies sometime in August.
The ban on commercial aviation was formalised by the National Civil Aviation Administration (ANAC), but state carrier Aerolíneas Argentinas is already preparing for when post-pandemic normality returns.
Officials announced recently that the state airline has already studied what new health protocols and hygiene measures will need to be implemented once regular operations return. Steps will be taken at each stage of the trip, both at airports and on the flight itself.
Through a document that was made public, Aerolíneas Argentinas outlined a set of protocols and procedures that were drawn up based on the recommendations from IATA (International Air Transport Association), ACI (Air Transport Council), WHO (World Health Organisation) and Argentina's Health Ministry.
At check in:
– Aerolíneas Argentinas advises that, if possible, check in be carried out remotely at home.
– If passengers are going to check-in at the airport, they must respect the minimum separation distance (which will be indicated by signs and markings). To validate one's identity, only a DNI national identity card must be shown, it is not necessary to hand over documentation to air traffic personnel.
– Passengers are advised to travel with only one personal item on board, in compliance with measures. This will expedite boarding and disembarking and minimise movement within airports.
– At the airport, it will be necessary to arrive earlier than before the pandemic, since the new measures may mean more time is required to progress through the airport prior to boarding your flight. For the moment at least, the Condor Hall and the company's VIP exterior rooms at Argentina's Ezeiza International Airport are closed.
At the airport:
– Only passengers with flights may enter a terminal. Friends, relatives and companions will not be permitted to enter the building.
– At access doors, temperature checks will be carried out.
– All passengers must wear a face mask at all times.
– It is recommended passengers arrive at least a minimum of two hours in advance for domestic flights, in order to ensure boarding and transfer processes are carried out in an orderly manner.
– All passengers will be able to carry alcohol hand gel in their hand luggage, but only in containers of up to 100ml.
– Minimum separation distances must be respected and hands must be cleaned frequently.
– Boarding will be carried out in small group, starting with the last rows. Customers travelling in business or premium economy cabins will be the last to board.
– Once identities have been checked, it will be the passenger who scans their boarding pass on the corresponding reader.
– Whenever possible, boarding will be carried out through doors with access sleeves.
Onboard the flight:
– The use of face masks is mandatory at all times. Crews will also use them throughout the flight.
– Passengers must limit their movement within the plane as much as possible. If you need to go to the toilet, check that the availability indicator sign is lit and green before leaving your seat. Queuing will not be permitted.
– Reading material, blankets, pillows and headphones will not be provided.
– For cargo, internal and regional flights, food and beverage services are temporarily suspended.
– For international flights, food and drink services will be limited. A contingency menu will be offered featuring items in individual bags, made up of fresh and industrialised products. Upon completion, all items to be discarded should be placed in the same bag in which they were received to decrease interaction with the crew.
– Special meal and bassinet services are temporarily suspended.
– Passengers must remain in their seats and will only be able to get up from them when instructed to do so by staff. Rows will be cleared one by one. Recommended distancing measures must be maintained at all times.
– In the case of international flights, a person must deliver a complete and signed health form, as requested by local health authorities.