As more regular passenger flights resume over the coming weeks and months there has been much debate around what social distancing measures will look like
on board. Qantas it seems is not keen on the idea of leaving the middle seat empty.
The International Air Transport Association is in agreeance with the Flying Roo, warning that social distancing in the sky could cause airfares to spike by 50%.
“IATA does not support mandating social distancing measures that would leave ‘middle seats’ empty,” the association said.
IATA said that even though the evidence suggests that the risk of transmission onboard aircraft is low, 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 measures would bring.
Meanwhile, the ABC has released a report confirming that Qantas is working with the Federal Government on an exemption of social-distancing rules on board passenger flights.
Qantas’ CEO Alan Joyce explained to the ABC that keeping the middle seat empty only created a distance of 60 centimetres yet the social distancing rules are supposed to be 1.5 metres.
“If you did that, you’d have very few people on an aircraft and the airfares would have to be very high,” he said.
Similarly to IATA, Alan Joyce cited the lack of evidence around mid-air person-to-person transmission.
“There’s been no known transmission of COVID-19 passenger to passenger or passenger to
“We have the protections of how we clean aircraft, and if we put other protections in place, we think we can make a case and to make that absolutely secure and give people confidence that it’s very safe to travel.”
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