Keeping in mind the significance of physical distancing at the moment, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) asked the airlines to work on the seating plan. The DGCA has asked airlines to allot seats in such a manner so as to keep the middle seat between two passengers vacant. These guidelines will come into effect starting June 3.
Earlier, the Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had said that keeping the middle seat empty would not be viable for both the airlines and passengers, as the fares would shoot up.
However, if the seat allotments or booking cannot be made keeping the middle seat vacant, airlines will have to make special arrangements for passengers on the middle seat, recommended the DGCA. &ldquoAdditional protective equipment&rdquo including a three-layered face mask, face shield, adequate sanitiser and a Ministry of Textiles standard approved &lsquowrap around gown&rsquo is to provided to such passengers.
The allowed exception to this recommendation is possible only if family members of the passenger are sitting on adjacent seats.
From now on, no meals or drinking water is permitted on-board except in extreme circumstances. The airlines also have to sanitise the planes and their facilities frequently and also ensure that the air from the ACs gets replaced in the shortest possible interval of time.
The boarding and de-boarding on the plane will also follow a sequential pattern to avoid creating a rush and hampering physical distancing. Airline operations resumed in India after two months on May 25.