Coronavirus: DGCA asks airlines to keep middle seat on flights empty, use sanitisers, practice social distancing

he Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has asked all airlines and airports to take extensive measures to enforce social distancing and other precautions to avoid the rapid spread of novel coronavirus. Among the measures, DGCA has asked airlines to keep the middle seats empty on flights empty to avoid close contact between fliers.

DGCA has also asked airport authorities to make sure passengers stand at least 1 metre apart from each other at the check-in and security counters.

All international flights have been banned in India and airports have been shut for flights coming from other countries. Domestic travel, however, continues to remain operational.


Now, as over 20 states have enforced lockdown to various degrees, DGCA has issued an 8-point guideline to airlines and airport authorities. Here’s what DGCA has ordered:

1. Ensure adequate sparing at check-in counters between passengers (minimum one meter) and also between each individual counters.

2. Ensure availability of adequate staff for guiding the passengers at check-in counters and during security checks.

3. Passengers to be advised to sit at adequate distance in waiting area, keeping one seat vacant.

4. Ensure that boarding is done in a manner to avoid bunching of passengers at any time and also ensure adequate spacing between passengers in boarding lines.

5. Provide sanitizers for staff and passengers at the entry of the aircraft.

6. Cabin crew to maintain adequate distance while serving the passengers.

7. Seat allocation at the time of check-in to be done to in a manner to ensure that the seat between two passengers is kept empty.

8. Any other action as deemed appropriate to ensure social distancing is maintained.

The number of coronavirus cases has crossed 400 in India with 7 deaths recorded so far. The virus is spreading across the country at a fast pace even as the global death toll in the coronavirus pandemic crossed 14,000 on Monday.

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