Flight resumption: Dana Air plans to keep middle seats empty 

When it resumes flight operations after the coronavirus disease crisis, Dana Air plans to leave all its operational aircraft’s middle seats empty in line with the social distancing guideline on COVID-19.

The Accountable Manager, Obi Mbanuzuo, said the airline would commence this initiative when flights resume, maintain it for a while and listen to the feedback from the airline’s customers.

His words, “Majority of our aircraft are configured with mainly three seats in a row, on either side of the aisle, so when we resume flights anytime soon, we will keep the middle seats empty so passengers can sit on the window and aisle seats to ensure some physical distancing onboard all our flights.

“This is just to give our guests some sense of security about their health and well-being when flying with us immediately after the pandemic, and it will be for some time, while we continue to review feedback from our guests on their thoughts. But we believe it is what customers might like to see.

“Our first concern is the safety and well-being of our staff and customers, and we have made firm arrangements to ensure that our thorough cleaning and disinfection programme continues. We are taking this seriously as we do not know how long this will last.”

On the impact of COVID-19 on domestic airlines, Obi said domestic airlines had lost over N360bn to the pandemic and still counting.

“Their charges, fees, allowances, salaries, aircraft leases and taxes are all pending, and over 100 aircraft are parked nationwide without generating a dime. The Value-Added Tax, which contributes to the high cost of airfares, is yet to be removed. These are the issues and the government needs to seriously consider helping airlines to survive this trying time,” he added.

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