With regular follow-ups from Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), airport entry passes for tour operators have been acceded by the Ministry of Civil Aviation as per information received from Ministry of Tourism. While the revised criteria for number of passes to be issued has been announced, detailed guidelines are still awaited.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) and the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) have announced the new mechanism to issue Commercial Airport Entry Pass to tour operators and hotels. Such passes were discontinued effective December 31, 2019. The validity of the existing passes was first extended till January 31 and later, till March 31, 2020. The extension was given only to tour operators until a new mechanism to issue was finalised and no new passes were being issued.
According to the new criteria, for inbound tour operators with a turnover up to `20 crore, two entry passes will be issued. For operators with turnover above `20 crore and up to `50 crore, four passes will be issued and for the ones with turnover above `50 crore, up to eight airport entry passes will be issued. Similarly for hotels, 4-star hotels will get two passes while 5-star and 5-star deluxe properties can get up to four passes.
Sharing more information is Rajiv Mehra, Vice President, IATO, who says, “When we got extension on passes till March 31, 2020, a new policy to issue the passes was supposed to come in. But, unfortunately, because of COVID-19, the issue was held up. IATO was following up with the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Ministry of Tourism. Our efforts became successful when the Ministry of Civil Aviation issued guidelines to issue passes to tour operators and hotels. Further details and the guidelines are yet to be received from MoCA and BCAS, Government of India, and we shall be informed soon.”
On the new process, Mehra says that IATO will also conduct training programmes as per the directive of the Ministry. “It was said that the method of issuing passes will change. It may even include facial recognition at the airport to enter the premises. Such kind of details are still awaited from the authorities as to how this process will be implemented.
The first step has come out – the number of passes to be issued. We are expecting other guidelines soon. Once those guidelines come through, IATO has promised the Ministry of Civil Aviation as well as Bureau of Civil Aviation Security that the association will conduct a training programme for the airport representative who enters the airport, with the help of CISF and BCAS. Let us hope that it happens soon. By the time international flights and visa restrictions are lifted by the government, we are hoping to receive the other guidelines,” informs Mehra.
Providing updates on other activities of the association, Mehra shares that IATO is still trying its level best to get some relief for the industry. “We are meeting people in the concerned ministries and writing our concerns to authorities,” he concludes.
Number of passes to be issued: Tour Operators
- Turnover up to `20 crore: 2 passes
- Turnover from `20 crore-`50 crore: 4 passes
- Turnover above `50 crore: 8 passes
Number of passes to be issued: Hotels
- 4-star hotels: 2 passes
- 5-star & 5-star deluxe hotels: 4 passes