Coronavirus Crisis: Airlines reject proposal to keep middle seat vacant


Indian airlines have rejected DGCA’s proposal to keep middle seats vacant once flight services resume.


In a meeting held earlier this week with the centre to discuss matters pertaining to social distancing, promoters of airlines called the proposed rules superfluous while pointing out that such measures of distancing will not serve the purpose of ensuring complete safety for passengers. However, such a step would rather deepen the economics for airlines hit significantly by the outbreak of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, they said.

The airlines have rather suggested mandatory personal protective equipment such as suit, gloves and mask for flyers and crew members.

“Keeping the middle seat vacant will not ensure safety, it will be mere optics. It is impossible to keep a safe distance between the aisle and the window seat,” said Ajay Singh, chairman and managing director at low cost airline SpiceJet.

“It will be more effective if face masks and gloves are made mandatory for passengers,” he said.

Civil aviation regulator DGCA is chalking out a set of protocols for resumption of service after the ban on air transport is revoked. As part of that, the regulator has asked that airlines should not allow the middle seats to be booked.    


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