Airlines in India will need to keep the middle seat empty if passenger load factors and seat capacity allow for it, the aviation regulator said in a notice to domestic and international carriers.
However, members of the same family would be allowed to sit together, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said in its notice issued on Sunday and seen by Reuters.
For more coronavirus news, visit our dedicated page.
The regulator did not elaborate on what load factors or seat capacity would require the middle seats to be left vacant. It said the rules would come into effect from June 3.
The DGCA did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.
For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app
Airlines including IndiGo, India’s largest carrier, SpiceJet Ltd and Vistara, a joint venture of Tata Group and Singapore Airlines, were allowed to resume partial operations last week after a two-month lockdown to fight the spread of the coronavirus.
Coronavirus: India allows rural poor to work in lockdown
If a seat between two passengers is occupied, the DGCA said, the person in that seat must be provided with additional safety gear such as a ‘wrap-around gown’ apart from the face mask and face shield that airlines already have to provide to everyone on board.
The DGCA notice listed other measures, including some it has previously announced, to protect passenger and crew safety.
Coronavirus: Airlines asked to follow pricing rules as India resumes domestic flightsTicket pricing restrictions, protective suits and goggles for flight attendants and no food served on board planes are among the rules proposed by ... Coronavirus
Go Airlines sends 90 pct of staff home without pay as India closes amid coronavirusGo Airlines India Ltd. has asked as many as 90 percent of its 5,500 employees to go on indefinite leave without pay, as a government ban on flights ... Coronavirus
Coronavirus outbreak in India is 7th largest in the worldIndia has registered 230 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing its total to 5,394 as the country begins its three-stage reopening on Monday. For more ... Coronavirus
Coronavirus: India extends lockdown in high-risk zones, to allows reopening elsewhereIndia extended its coronavirus lockdown until June 30 in high-risk zones but permitted restaurants, malls and religious buildings to reopen elsewhere ... Coronavirus