Interview: William Boulter, chief commercial officer, IndiGo

16 Jun 2020 by Business Traveller India

India’s domestic flight services are functioning in full swing with airlines implementing high standards of safety and hygiene to ensure an enhanced passenger experience.

Business Traveller India exclusively speaks to William Boulter, chief commercial officer, IndiGo for insights on the airline operations.

How will airline contribute towards the revival of India’s aviation industry?

The most important aspect in the revival of the aviation sector is travel demand, fuelled by passenger confidence in air travel. Given the current circumstances, it is critical to ensure the health and safety of our passengers and employees. Through our extensive preventive measures, we are ensuring a safe and hassle-free flying experience for our passengers and crew, which is a critical part of rebuilding trust and demand for air travel.

What has been the airline’s approach towards Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s directive to either keep the middle seat vacant or provide wrap-around gown to the passenger?

Different routes have passenger load factor and it’s not always possible to keep the middle seat empty. However, we are doing our best to either keep middle seats empty or provide the passenger with an overall Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as per the DGCA guidelines.

How is the airline preparing for the resumption of its international services? 

Resumption of domestic flights has proven to be a great success. We are ready to resume international operations very soon. In fact, we have been operating international charter flights for repatriation over the last few weeks. We are working on every step possible to make sure that our travel practices remain safe and secure.


What is in the pipeline in terms of launching new routes and increasing frequency? 

Currently, the government has capped the frequency in operations, until August. Thereafter, we will surely be looking at expanding our operations as per the customer demand and state-wise lifting of restrictions.

Any alternatives being introduced, since inflight meal services are not allowed? 

Even before government guidelines were issued, we had decided to cease our inflight meal services to minimise contact among the crew and passengers. We are encouraging our passengers to have a meal and drinks while they are at the airport. We will continue to serve water on board, on-demand.

What is the role of the crew in supervising the inflight health and hygiene situation?

In the current situation, the emphasis on health and wellbeing, with respect to Covid-19 is an absolute priority. The crew is also taking preventive measures like wearing hazmat suits and PPE at all times. They keep extra sanitisers, gloves and masks for the passengers and the gears are not thrown in any bin except biohazard bins. Moreover, they also make sure that the aircraft is sanitised properly before every flight.

Our safety measures are not just in focus on board, but through the journey of the passenger, from the moment they enter the airport until they exit the airport at their destination. We have ensured preventive measures with social distancing at all points like airport entry, baggage drop counters, security checks, coaches, ramps, crew vehicles, and the aircraft itself.

The tray tables, armrests, overhead nozzles, lavatories and galleys are receiving special attention, given the frequency of contact. In addition, we are also following periodic fumigation of the aircraft. Before entering the airport or before boarding the aircraft, the body temperature of every passenger is being checked using non-contact thermal screening devices. Customers are being provided with electronic receipt (SMS) of the checked-in baggage.

Apart from this, it has been analysed that the risk of transmission of Covid-19 from one passenger to another passenger onboard is very low with specific preventive measures like masks, gloves, and face shield, making flying the safest way to travel.

The reason for these include customers sit facing forward and not towards each other, seatbacks provide a barrier, the use of HEPA filters and the direction of the airflow on board (from ceiling to floor), and the limited movement inside the aircraft.


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