Air travel is safe without social distancing between passengers on board, industry association Airlines 4 Europe (A4E) has claimed
, citing the technology behind high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters that constantly clean the air on board jets. A4E managing director Thomas Reynaert said: “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”.
A4E, representing the interests of Europe’s 16 largest airlines and airline groups and flying 720 million passengers per year, today reiterated that air travel remains one of the safest modes of transport during a public health crisis, with a very low risk of virus transmission onboard. As a result of the (HEPA) filters, the air in the cabin is comparable with the sterile environment of a hospital operating theatre. Research by leading national and European research institutes as well as IATA confirms that there is little evidence supporting passenger-to-passenger transmission of the COVID-19 virus onboard an aircraft — even without additional protective measures in place.
Around the world, infection peaks seem to be passing, and governments will be turning their thoughts to getting the economy kicking back into gear. The air transport industry’s ability to demonstrate safety sentiments like those outlined above regarding social-distancing will be a critical factor in the pace at which air travel will get back to where it once was. Timely communication may prove essential for building community trust as many passengers will want reassurance that airports are taking the right measures.