The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released a statement stating that it does not support mandatory social distancing measures that would leave ‘middle seats’ empty on flights.
Instead, IATA explains that it supports the wearing of face coverings for passengers and masks for crew while on board aircraft as a critical part of a layered approach to biosecurity to be implemented temporarily when people return to travelling by air.
IATA suggests that the evidence to support the risk of transmission of COVID-19 while onboard an aircraft is low and explains that mask-wearing by passengers and crew will reduce the already low risk, while avoiding the dramatic cost increases to air travel that onboard social distancing would bring.
“The safety of passengers and crew is paramount,” said IATA chief executive Alexandre de Juniac. “The aviation industry is working with governments to restart flying when this can be done safely.
“Evidence suggests that the risk of transmission onboard aircraft is low. And we will take measures – such as the wearing of face coverings by passengers and masks by crew – to add extra layers of protection.
“We must arrive at a solution that gives passengers the confidence to fly and keeps the cost of flying affordable. One without the other will have no lasting benefit.”
In addition to face coverings, IATA is also proposing these temporary biosecurity measures:
- temperature screening of passengers, airport workers and travellers
- boarding and disembarking processes that reduce contact with other passengers or crew
- limiting movement within the cabin during flight
- more frequent and deeper cabin cleaning
- simplified catering procedures that lower crew movement and interaction with passengers.
What do you think of IATA’s view on abandoning social distancing on flights?
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