The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Monday asked airlines to allot seats in flights in such a manner that middle seats are kept vacant to the extent possible.
However, 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 that passenger in addition to three-layered face mask and face shield, said the DGCA order.
Here is the list of guidelines issued by DGCA to follow:
(i) All passengers shall be provided with safety kits by airlines, which shall include a three-layered surgical mask, face shield, and adequate sanitizer (sachets/ bottle).
(ii) 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, the members of the same family may be allowed to sit together.
(iii) If the middle seat/seat between two passengers is occupied due to passenger load, then additional protective equipment like 'wrap-around gown' (Ministry of Textiles approved standards) shall be provided to the individual occupying the intervening seat in addition to the three-layer face mask and face shield.
(iv) No meals or drinking water shall be served onboard except in extreme circumstances arising due to health reasons.
(v) The embarkation/ disembarkation shall be sequential and passengers shall be advised by airlines to follow the instructions and not to rush to the entry/ exit gate. The airline shall ensure the orderly entry/exit of the passengers.
(vi) Airlines shall set the air-conditioning system in such a way that the air gets replaced at the shortest possible intervals.
(vii) Aircraft shall be sanitized after the end of each sector when there is no passenger on board. However, on transit flights, when passengers are on board, the seats (including its contacts) which have been vacated by the passenger shall be sanitized. At the end of the day, each aircraft shall be deep cleaned as per the procedure prescribed by the DGCA vide its Circular 4/1/2020-IR dated 17.3.2020. Special attention shall be paid to sanitize the seat belt and all other contact points.
(viii) Airplane lavatories shall be cleaned/sanitized frequently during the flight.
(ix) Airlines shall carry out health check-up of all crew regularly. All flying crew/ Cabin Crew shall be given full protective suits.
(x) In the case of COVID-19 related medical emergency on board, aircraft disinfection shall be carried with special attention to all the affected and adjoining seats.
(xi) Airlines/ Airports shall explore the possibility of having a disinfection tunnel to ensure the safety of passengers after fully evaluating its health implications on human beings.
(xii) The aforesaid directions are in addition to those already prescribed MoCA/DGCA. The above directions are for strict compliance by all stakeholders and shall come into force with effect from June 3, 2020.
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.