According to the minutes of the meeting, physical distance between two persons helps to minimize transmission through an inadvertent touch, and if a protective suit could be provided to persons sitting next to each other that could help prevent the spread of virus either by droplets or by touch.
The Bombay High Court sought clarification from an expert committee appointed by the aviation regulator as to whether Covid-19 could transmit from an infected person through a mere touch.
The court is hearing a plea from an Air India pilot seeking directions from the airline to ensure that it follows the social distance guidelines of the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation, including on keeping the middle seats of the aircraft vacant.
Private sector airlines GoAir, IndiGo NSE 4.37 percent and SpiceJet NSE 9.93 percent approached the court on Thursday to be parties to the case. On Friday, a bench of judges SJ Kathawala and Surendra Tavade will again hear the case.
At a May 26 meeting the court in its direction to the regulator noted the expert committee's observations. According to it, the meeting had observed that providing the person sitting in the middle seat with a protective suit could be a "very good means" to prevent the virus from spreading through droplets or touch.
The Bombay High Court last month, in a petition filed by the same pilot, ordered Air India in an interim order to hold the middle seat vacant while operating the aircraft.The Bombay High Court last month, in a petition filed by the same pilot, ordered Air India in an interim order to hold the middle seat vacant while operating the aircraft.
The government and the state-run carrier challenged the order in the Supreme Court. The apex court ruled on May 27 that the middle seats could be filled up by Air India until June 6 and then it would have to comply with any ruling passed by the high court.
The DGCA ordered airlines to try and keep middle seats vacant in flights on June 1. If the seats are already booked, airlines could provide the passengers in the middle with a "wraparound gown" besides the other protective gear.