Mumbai: HC permits flights with middle seats occupied

Bombay High Court
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Bombay High Court
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The Bombay High Court on Monday permitted all flight operators to allow passengers to occupy middle seats in flights, but said they should strictly comply with guidelines of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation on measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Monday permitted all flight operators to allow passengers to occupy middle seats in flights, but said they should strictly comply with guidelines of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation on measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

A division bench of Justices S J Kathawalla and S P Tavade refused to accept the contentions raised in a petition filed by Air India pilot Deven Kanani, who said the middle seats of all international and domestic flights should be kept vacant to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

"We are of the prima facie view that the safety and health of passengers on board the aircraft qua (with regard to) COVID-19 virus is adequately taken care of even if the middle seat of the aircraft is not kept vacant on account of passenger load and seat capacity, the court said.

The court permitted air carriers to allow passengers to occupy the middle seat in flights, but said they should strictly comply with DGCA's guidelines on measures to be taken to prevent spread of the coronavirus.

The DGCA in its May 31 circular said flight operators should try to keep the middle seat vacant but if it has been booked, then the passenger shall be provided with a wraparound gown in addition to the mask and face shield.

If possible, passengers from one family or those travelling in one group could be allotted seats along with the middle seat, it said in the circular.

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