DGCA asks airlines to keep seats between passengers empty

NEW DELHI: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has asked all airlines operating in domestic circuit to ensure passengers inside the aircraft are not seated next to each other and there remains a seat between two passengers.

“Seat allocation at the time of check-in to be done in a manner to ensure that the seat between two passengers is kept empty,” the DGCA said in a circular.

The move, which is an attempt by the aviation regulator to ensure social distancing between two passengers on a flight would help check the spread of Coronavirus, would mean that the middle seats in the economy class cabin of aircraft would be kept free.

The recent order is part of various social distancing norm announced by the aviation regulator. These rules include maintaining a distance between two passengers at the time of check-in and boarding. Airlines have also been asked to maintain a gap of 1 metre between two check-in counters.

The regulator has also ordered that the cabin crew maintains safe distance with the passengers while providing service.

Airport operators have also been asked to ensure sanitisers for passengers and also ensure that passengers do not sit close to each other while waiting for their flights.

The DGCA announced these fresh norms a day after it overruled a Delhi government order that had banned domestic flights in and out of Delhi airport. The regulator reiterated today that flight operations in and out of Delhi airport will continue to operate normally.

However, airport operators say that they are seeing operations of only 33% of flight operations for now, as airlines are cancelling and merging flights due to poor passenger loads.

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