Priority take-off and landing for airplane carrying organs for transplant

Aviation ministry sets the norm to standardise practise for organ transportation by air in India. New norms conveyed to airlines, asked to avoid any delay once the organ reaches airport

In its attempt to standardise practise for human organ transplantation across India, aviation ministry permits aircraft carrying human cadaveric organs for transplant to be allowed to take off and land on priority basis.


According to the first set of standard operating procedures (SOPs) drafted by the Bureau of Civic Aviation Security (BCAS), this will facilitate quick transportation of organs. The SOPs prepared by the aviation ministry is in collaboration with the National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO).

It also states that organs could be exempted from X-ray screening to avoid radiation exposure. However, stakeholders are upset that there is no mention to limit airfares, which is often arbitrary, exorbitant, and is the current biggest hurdle in organ sharing within cities as well as between states.

SOPs outline the procedures in relation to the labelling, packaging and storage of organs, necessary to maximise safety of travellers and avoid any risk to the organ. Among other pertinent points, norms also delve into designing a see-through package that will make it easier for airport security personnel to check containers without opening it.

Airlines have been entrusted with clear responsibilities to avoid any delay once the organ has reached the airport.

SOPs are supposed to be implemented with immediate effect. The norms were conveyed to managing directors of all major domestic airports, security officers and representatives of private airlines in a meeting held on November 25 by the Civil Aviation ministry.

Additional deputy director general Dr Anil Kumar said NOTTO had written to several ministries seeking aid in organ transportation.

“BCAS was the first one to respond and formulate the guidelines. The idea is to have standard practise for the country rather than following general international guidelines. Priority take-off and landing alone can save more than 20-25 precious minutes,” he said.

Source: Times of India