India’s aviation regulatory body, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has asked all airlines to keep the middle seats vacant on flights if possible.

In an order issued by the DGCA on directions for protecting the health of persons involved in air travel, it said, “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.”

An alternative option suggested by DGCA is additional protective equipment like wrap-around gowns of standards approved by the Ministry of Textiles in addition to the face mask and face shields to passenger in the middle seat.

This order has been made mandatory for all airlines, operating to/from or within India.

Apart from this, DGCA has also issued some more guidelines such as all passengers are provided with safety kits by airlines; no meals or drinking water shall be served onboard except for health reasons; embarkation and disembarkation of passengers in a sequential manner and airlines/ airports shall explore the possibility of having a disinfection tunnel to ensure the safety of passengers.

These measures are currently being implemented on domestic flights that resumed from May 25.