Aviation modulator DGCA today asked airlines to keep middle seats vacant to the extent possible in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
Meanwhile, if a flyer has been allotted the middle seat due to a high passenger load "then additional protective equipment like wrap-around gown of the ministry of textile approved standards" must be provided to him or her in addition to a three-layered face mask and face shield, stated the DGCA order.
While perceiving a petition on whether to keep middle seats in flights vacant or not, the Supreme Court had on May 25 said that the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is free to alter its norms in the interest of public health and safety of passengers "rather than of commercial considerations".
The DGCA, looking after this Supreme Court observation, in its order on Monday stated, "The airlines shall allot the seats in such a manner that the middle seat/seat between two passengers is kept vacant if the passenger load and seat capacity permits the same."
"However, members of the same family may be allowed to sit together," it added.
"The embarkation or disembarkation shall be sequential and passengers shall be advised by airlines to follow the instructions and not to rush to the entry or exit gate. The airline shall ensure orderly entry or exit of the passengers," the DGCA said.