GMR led Delhi and Hyderabad Airports Support the Government in Managing Covid-19 Evacuations

10 April 2020

At a time, when the Covid-19 pandemic evolved at an unprecedented speed, leaving businesses around the world counting costs, Aviation sector, which saw a major fallout, has undergone a tectonic shift. Impending scenarios have surfaced, with Indian airports getting locked down, perhaps for the first time in the last century, ever since the maiden commercial flight took off from Allahabad carrying mail across the Yamuna River to Naini in Uttar Pradesh in circa 1911. Today, all big and small birds of myriad make and dimensions have been grounded; and India as the world's 3rd largest domestic aviation market, meets its share of debacle post the Covid-19 outbreak.


Despite the shutdown of all commercial passenger flights in the country, evacuation/relief flights are still active at GMR's two Indian airports at Delhi and Hyderabad. India's busiest airport - Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) - has kept its apron wide open with the airport fully equipped with men and resources to ensure seamless facilitation for every rescue flight taking off or landing at Delhi. Similarly, Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) in Hyderabad, despite lockdown, has risen to its full conviction and faith in facilitating the evacuation measures for the Indians and foreign nationals either stuck in any part of Southern India or being flown back to Hyderabad.

What we see from outside as normal regular airport operations - be it on a normal day or on a day of pandemic, the efforts and resources in running an airport remains the same. Hands may fall short, but the hearts that keep the momentum running is what ultimately counts.

GMR Group, which runs on seven values and beliefs, has its marquee mantra of 'Teamwork & Relationship', imbibing the spirit of fortitude and a boundary-less behavior among its employees. This often leaves a lasting impression on the service partners and stakeholders, who act as the vital backbone of the organization. Evacuation of this quantum needed a team with steely grit, which is ready to deliver with God Speed and Strength. Both the airports have their foundations laid on a spirit of One Family, One Mission. This camaraderie and sense of oneness at the time of need has ensured the seamless landing and takeoff of all rescue flights from both the airports despite the lockdown.

Some of the key unsung heroes of this ongoing drive hail from various functions. These include Airside Operations, Airport Operations and Control Center (AOCC), Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) service, Air Traffic Control (ATC), Airport Terminal Operations, Airline Ground handling agencies, CISF, Immigration, Customs, Security among others. All these personnel are available at the respective airports round the clock in shifts, fully geared in the necessary COVID-19 preventive attire to handle the seamless movement of the passengers and crew as per the aviation protocol.

Delhi and Hyderabad Airports have been instrumental in evacuating thousands of foreign nationals through relief flights and also rescued several hundreds of Indian nationals from various foreign lands, such as Tehran, Amsterdam, Rome, Milan and China.


Both the airports are following the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health, Government of India on implementation of prescribed measures and providing support to the Airport Health Organisation (APHO) teams to screen and protect passengers. These measures include:

  • Deployment of automatic hand sanitizer stations and increased frequency of cleaning of passenger touch areas using approved disinfectants.
  • A dedicated passage for passengers arriving from specified countries, connecting the passenger boarding bridge / bussing gate through the health-screening zone at the arrival.
  • Allocating separate immigration counters for flights originating from countries listed on the GOI circulars and a segregated baggage reclaim zone is in use.
  • Dedicated staffs have been deployed 24/7 to help passengers navigate through the screening process maintaining social distance.
  • All disembarking passengers/crew are screened of COVID-19 symptoms by the APHO and based on requirement quarantine measures are also invoked.