DCGA Directs Airlines To Keep Middle Seats Vacant Or Arrange Additional Protective Equipment

Report By: Nandika Chand | Last Updated June 1, 2020

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has asked airlines to keep middle seats, between two passengers, vacant or provide additional protective equipment to the flyers. This comes after Union Minister Hardeep Singh had said that keeping the middle seat vacant would not be viable because it would spike air fares.

The airline regulator directed airlines to provide a three-layered face mask, face shield and a wrap-around gown that have approved standards by the Ministry of Textile. In its new order, the DGCA said meals and drinking water will not be provided. It said airlines must ensure the orderly entry and exit of travellers. “Airlines shall set the air-conditioning system in such a way that the air gets replaced at the shortest possible intervals,” the regulator ordered. “All aircraft shall be sanitised after end of each sector when there are no passengers on board.”

In regards to transit flights, the DGCA said airlines can sanitise those seats that have been vacated. “Seat belts and other contact points must be thoroughly cleaned,” it said. Furthermore, the regulator has also asked airport authorities and airline companies to install disinfection tunnel for the safety of passengers. “The health implementation of a disinfection tunnel must be evaluated before the implementation,” it said.

India resumed domestic flights after two-months of nationwide lockdown due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. International flights are likely to resume before August.

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