In a major relief to the airline industry, the Supreme Court on Friday put an end to the middle-seat row in flights and upheld the Bombay High Court’s verdict saying that there is no need to keep middle seat vacant.

On June 15, the Bombay High Court permitted all flight operators to allow passengers to occupy middle seats in flights but said they should strictly comply with guidelines of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Bhushan Gavai dismissed a petition filed by an Air India pilot Deven Kanani challenging the Bombay High Court’s June 15 order.

Gavai had filed a special petition against DGCA’s decision, delivered on May 31, allowing airlines to sell tickets for in-flight middle seats.

The DGCA in its May 31 circular had said that flight operators should try to keep the middle seat vacant but if it has been booked, then the passenger shall be provided with a wraparound gown in addition to the mask and face shield.

If possible, passengers from one family or those travelling in one group could be allotted seats along with the middle seat, it said in the circular.