Keep middle seats on planes vacant till maximum extent: DGCA

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Middle seats on planes to be kept vacant till maximum extent
Middle seats on planes to be kept vacant till maximum extent

New Delhi : Airlines have been asked to keep the middle seat vacant till the maximum extent, the country's aviation regulator DGCA has said. The government has earlier said that making it mandatory to keep the middle seat vacant would not be a viable option as it will increase the plane fare.

Passengers who do end up with middle seats on a flight should be provided a "additional protective equipment like a wraparound gown of the Textile Ministry approved standards" in addition to a face mask and shield, PTI said, citing a DGCA or Director General of Civil Aviation order.

Domestic passenger flights had returned in service on May 25 after a suspension of two months due to coronavirus lockdown. International commercial passenger flights remain suspended in the country.

Supreme Court, on the other hand, had claimed that keeping middle seat vacant is a sensible option. As the government must worry about the health of citizens instead of health of airlines.

"It is common sense that maintaining social distancing is important. Outside, there should be a social distancing of at least six feet, what about inside aircrafts," Chief Justice SA Bobde had said to national carrier Air India, which has been operating the "Vande Bharat" flights since May 7 to bring back Indians stranded abroad due to virus shutdowns.