With countries slowly starting to reopen after a strict lockdown for over two months, governments, airlines and regulators across the world are starting to put in new measures to allow safe travel amid the global pandemic. With no potential vaccine in sight and virus far from over, here are new measures being put in place for air travel by some of the major countries in the world.
Starting from the European Union and the United Kingdom, the region where tourism sector accounts for 10% of the GDP, new measures proposed by the airlines and airports reportedly state compulsory wearing of face masks for passengers. Airlines and airports are required to reorganise luggage drop-off and pick-up section to avoid crowds. Travellers should also keep minimum movement onboard a flight to avoid physical contact with co-passengers and cabin crew.
The United States, which is also one of the largest tourist destinations in the world has no government-imposed guidelines for air travel yet. But airlines have issued advisories for travellers asking them to wear face coverings at all time and some have even decided to leave middle seats empty in their flights as part of social distancing measure. As per reports, some major airlines in the country have also asked airports to conduct temperature checks of passengers and staff member before allowing them to board the flight.
South Korean regulator has made temperature checks of passengers compulsory and has asked airports to ensure travellers maintain a three feet distance while standing in queues before boarding flights. Airports must also keep hand sanitizers at every nearest place they can find. As per reports, Korean Air Lines Co Ltd is making temperature checks for international travellers mandatory, while for domestic passengers wearing face masks is compulsory barring children below the age of two. South Korea is among the few countries that have successfully managed to contain the outbreak.
Meanwhile, China, where the disease first emerged is requiring passengers to fill out an electronic health declaration before boarding a flight. The Chinese aviation regulator has also made temperature checks at the airports mandatory for all passengers and staff members. The regulator has also asked travellers to sit as far as possible on board an aircraft and has made wearing of face mask compulsory throughout the course of the journey.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) on May 5 said that it does not support mandating social distancing measures that would leave ‘middle seats’ empty in flights. The IATA on Tuesday said it is in favour of the wearing of face coverings for passengers and masks for the crew while on board aircraft but does not recommend airlines to leave 'middle seats' empty as part of the social distancing measures, claiming that evidence suggests that the risk of transmission onboard aircraft is low because the High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters on modern aircraft clean cabin air efficiently.
(Image Credit: AP)