Friday, June 05, 2020

Bombay High Court allows domestic airlines to fill up middle seats

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has allowed domestic airlines to fill up middle seats in aircraft in strict compliance with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation's (DGCA) May 31 order and other applicable rules.
The high court issued the order on Friday while hearing a petition filed by Air India pilot Deven Kanani who said social distancing was not being maintained on flights as the airline was filling up all the seats.
"The flight operators including Respondent Nos. 2 and 3 ( Air India and Air India Express ) shall allow the passengers to occupy the middle seat strictly in compliance with the circular dated May 31, 2020 and the applicable SOPs / circulars / guidelines issued from time to time by the concerned authorities," a division bench of Justice S P Tavade and Justice S J Kathawalla said in their interim order.
On May 31, the DGCA instructed the airlines to allot seats in flights in such a manner that the middle seat between two passengers was kept vacant to the extent possible. In case it was not possible to keep seat vacant due to high loads, the airline shall arrange for a gown for the middle seat passenger, the regulator had said.
The regulator had modified it's guidelines after Supreme Court asked it to frame rules in interest of public health and not commerical interests alone.
05/06/20 Aneesh Phadnis/Business Standard
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