Airports are coming up with all sorts of plans for their operations once flights resume, but one industry leader has poured cold water on the idea of keeping people apart before they fly.
‘Queues a kilometre long’
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, the chief executive of Heathrow suggests that social distancing in an airport setting is all but impossible, saying:
‘Forget social distancing – it won’t work in aviation or any other form of public transport, and the problem is not the plane, it is the lack of space in the airport. Just one jumbo jet would require a queue a kilometre long.’
Heathrow’s John Holland-Kaye has urged UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to quickly find a “common international standard” that would allow global airports to open in time for the vital summer period.
The Heathrow boss also warns that ticket prices will “shoot up” if social distancing on planes reduces cabin capacity by more than 50 per cent.
At the weekend, Delhi airport – India’s busiest – revealed plans to operate a single terminal when flights resume.
The airport proposes to keep shops and restaurants open to keep people spread out and will segregate passengers checking in according to the airline they are flying.
The boss of Heathrow is sounding a much more negative tone than Delhi, telling airports to “forget” social distancing.
Instead, the UK chief executive says airports must focus on “fantastic hygiene” and temperature screening, while passengers should wear masks and avoid contact with airport workers.
Is John Holland-Kaye right to suggest social distancing at airports is unrealistic?