Airlines 4 Europe, the trade group for European airlines similar to Airlines 4 America, says that even without social distancing on aircraft that flying will be safe.
“Fortunately, airlines have experience and know there is already a very low risk of virus transmission onboard,” A4E Managing Director Thomas Reynaert told Forbes. “Any form of physical distancing is unnecessary, ineffective and simply impractical given the same desired result can be achieved by wearing face masks in an already sterile cabin environment.”
Forbes noted that despite the depiction of airplanes as something of a petri dish, where viruses can easily spread, the use of advanced HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters are constantly cleaning the air onboard, limiting the risk of transmission.
“Physical separation on planes — including leaving middle seats free — is unnecessary and ineffective as a further protective measure, given the efficient air filtration and clean cabin environment,” Reynaert said.
There’s also another reason Reynaert is so vocal – his union, which represents Europe’s 16 biggest airlines, is well aware that carriers across the globe are losing money like a sieve. Airlines 4 America, in testimony to the U.S. Senate last week, noted that international flights are carrying an average of 29 passengers per flight.
Reynaert said airlines require planes to be at least 77 percent full in order to break even. Eliminating the middle seat would reduce a 100 percent full flight to just 50-66 percent of capacity. Thusly, A4E is asking the European Union to not put social distancing requirements in place.
Unlike American counterparts, European airlines have not put in place any requirements for face masks nor are they taking the temperature of passengers.
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