New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Monday asked the airlines to allot seats in flights in such a manner that middle seats are kept vacant to the "extent possible", reported news agency PTI.

It, however, said that if a passenger is allotted the middle seat due to a high passenger load "then he or she should be provided additional protective equipment like wrap-around gown of the Ministry of Textile approved standards" in addition to three-layered face mask and face shield, said the DGCA order.

This comes days after the Supreme Court said that middle seats in flights should be kept vacant to ensure social distancing and to control the spread of the dreadful coronavirus.

Conducting an urgent hearing, the apex court had said that the government and the DGCA should worry "about the health of citizens, not about the health of commercial airlines".

"You should be worried about the health of citizens, not about the health of commercial airlines," the top court had said.

The top court had allowd Air India to keep operating its scheduled flights with the middle seats filled till June 6, saying that the Bombay High Court would take a decision on a petition that called for middle seats to be kept vacant.

On May 22, the Bombay High Court had sought response from Air India and DGCA on a petition of an AI pilot who claimed that the airline was not following safety measures for coronavirus while bringing back Indians stranded abroad. 

The High Court had then directed Air India and DGCA to file affidavits clarifying their stand and posted the petition for further hearing on June 2. The court had also allowed Kanani to amend his petition to challenge the circular of May 22. 

India resumed its domestic passenger flights from May 25 after a gap of two months due to the coronavirus-triggered lockdown. International commercial passenger flights continue to remain suspended in the country.

(With PTI inputs)

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma