News

Domestic flights spared empty middle seats rule

Summary

Kenya Civil Aviation Authority director-general Gilbert Kibe said flying with the middle row seats empty will be unsustainable as some airlines will be forced to increase ticket prices, locking out hundreds of passengers.

Domestic carriers, grounded over the past three months by the coronavirus, will not be compelled to keep some seats empty when they resume passenger flights, the sector regulator has said.

Kenya Civil Aviation Authority director-general Gilbert Kibe said flying with the middle row seats empty will be unsustainable as some airlines will be forced to increase ticket prices, locking out hundreds of passengers.

Fresh Ministry of Trade rules meant to guide businesses during the easing of Covid-19 restrictions demand that airlines limit passenger numbers to nearly half of their licensed capacity in line with public health regulations.

“I can say that airlines in Kenya will be allowed to operate in such a way that they will be able to remain sustainable. Keeping seats in the middle row empty is unsustainable,” Mr Kibe told the Business Daily on Friday.

He said airlines plan to combat spread of the virus by pushing for other measures such as use of face masks, pre-flight screening and sanitising cabins to ensure the safety of passengers and crew.

The aircraft will also have seats reserved to deal with any suspected cases of the coronavirus aboard.