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Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as airlines look to resume operations at full scale, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has asked the carriers to maintain sanitisation and safety guidelines for the safety of all passengers. By Manya Saini

Travelling in the ‘new normal’ involves following a multitude of different guidelines for both passengers as well the airlines. India’s civil aviation authority, DGCA, has issued advisories to airlines to ensure the safety of passengers. This includes keeping the middle seat empty to comply with social distancing rule as much as possible. In case it is occupied, passengers must be provided with ‘wrap-around gowns’ as an added personal protective gear.

 

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Earlier, the Central Government had said that keeping the middle seat vacant was not a viable option for airlines, especially on a long-term basis, as fares would hike to unaffordable levels. As of now, all passengers are being provided with a face mask and shield for their journey. Regular health checkups have been made compulsory for all staff and cabin crew members.

The DGCA order states that all wrap-around gowns issued to travellers should be of Textile Ministry approved standards. Further, airlines are not allowed to allot middle seats, if the number of passengers on-board permit social distancing regulations. A concession, however, has been granted to family members, who will be allowed to sit together.

 

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The order has further reiterated the earlier guidelines issued to commercial airlines, like frequent sanitisation of the interiors, seats and tray tables. It also adds a ban on meals and drinking water on board except for health reasons. At the end of each working day, flights have to be deep cleaned mandatorily.

Domestic flights resumed operations in India on March 25, after a two-month hiatus, amid the nationwide lockdown. However, international commercial flights will remain suspended until the end of the month, most likely.

Related: Did You Know About These Quarantine Rules For People Entering Different States Via Flights?