Directorate General of Civil Aviation issued new rules for airlines on Wednesday including cabin crew members handling unruly and disruptive passengers on board. The introduction of these new rules come at a time when there has been visible stress among travelers due to the coronavirus pandemic, which could lead to disputes between them and the staff aboard the aircraft. 

The DGCA released a circular which states that there may be occasions when passengers will refuse to wear face masks or covering in flights en route to its destination, or due to fights caused among travellers due to their ethnicity or country of residence or due to the presence of symptoms similar to those associated with the COVID-19 infection. 

The DGCA's latest notification further states, "Airlines should define standard operating procedures for on board handling of unruly passengers in COVID-19 environment. They should communicate their policy on handling unruly passengers as widely as possible, including on its website, during ticket purchase, check-in process, etc." It also read, "Operators should develop inflight cabin crew training procedures to ensure passengers adhere to health and safety guidelines such as wearing mask/protective gear at all times on board and maintain high levels of hygiene,". Furthermore, the DGCA stated, "The handling of on-board unruly passengers should include reiteration of the enforcement mechanism of the operator,".

The DGCA said, "For identification, prevention and management of unruly passengers in the context of COVID-19, operators should develop in-flight procedures to manage such situations and develop associated training procedures to train and sensitise the cabin crew,". Furthermore, it noted, "Due to the operations in COVID-19 environment, there may be increased stress imposed on passengers due new processes in place which may lead to increased disputes between passengers or with the crew,".

The statement continued saying, "Such behaviour, in the context of pressures imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, may be less aggressive or intrusive than the normally exhibited unruly behaviour, hence extra attention and steps need to be devoted for the prevention and management of unruly passengers,".