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Supreme Court permits Air India to work without leaving the center seat empty for 10 days Featured

Written by  May 25, 2020

The Supreme Court on Monday permitted national carrier Air India to work international flight services with center seat booking.

The court was hearing a petition documented by the Center and Air India after Bombay high court addressed why the airline was not keeping the center seats empty in international flights.

"Air India will be permitted to work non-scheduled foreign flights with center seats reserving for the next 10 days," Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad Arvind Bobde said.

The Bombay high court, while hearing a petition of a pilot, had looked for a reaction from the Air India and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

The pilot, Deven Kanani, in his request asserted a circular issued by the Government of India on March 23, 2020, laid a few conditions to forestall the spread of Covid-19 while bringing back Indians abandoned abroad because of the pandemic.

Nonetheless, the condition relating to keeping the center seat between two travelers void was not being followed by the Air India, he said in the request.

Kanani submitted photos of an Air India flight that operated between San Francisco and Mumbai where all seats were taken by passengers.

Air India counsel Abhinav Chandrachud objected the request and told the high court that the circular of March 23 has been currently supplanted with another circular issued by the Government of India on May 22, 2020 while allowing local flights to work from May 25th. The new circular doesn't state the center seat should be kept unfilled, Chandrachud told the court.

A division bench of Justices R D Dhanuka and Abhay Ahuja on Friday, in any case, noticed that a superficial look at the circular dated May 22 shows that it applies just to residential tasks and not to international activities.

The bench coordinated Air India and DGCA to record affidavits explaining their stand and posted the petition for an additional hearing on June 2.

Last modified on Monday, 25 May 2020 13:17



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