TravelNewsAsia.com
Wed, 6 May 2020

IATA Highlights Cost of Social Distancing on Aircraft

IATA has announced that it supports the wearing of masks for passengers and crew while on board aircraft, but does not support mandating social distancing measures that would leave ‘middle seats’ empty.

Evidence suggests that passengers and crew wearing masks on board will reduce the already low risk of flying, while avoiding the dramatic cost increases to air travel that onboard social distancing measures would bring.

“The safety of passengers and crew is paramount,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO. “The aviation industry is working with governments to re-start flying when this can be done safely. Evidence suggests that the risk of transmission on board aircraft is low. And we will take measures—such as the wearing of face coverings by passengers and masks by crew—to add extra layers of protection. We must arrive at a solution that gives passengers the confidence to fly and keeps the cost of flying affordable. One without the other will have no lasting benefit.”

On board an Air Italy Boeing 737 MAX 8. Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com Click to enlarge.

In addition to face masks, IATA also recommends:

- Temperature screening of passengers, airport workers and travelers;

- Boarding and deplaning processes that reduce contact with other passengers or crew;

- Limiting movement within the cabin during flight;

- More frequent and deeper cabin cleaning; and

- Simplified catering procedures that lower crew movement and interaction with passengers.

“The cabin environment naturally makes transmission of viruses difficult for a variety of reasons. That helps explain why we have seen little occurrence of onboard transmission. In the immediate term, our aim is to make the cabin environment even safer with effective measures so that passengers and crew can return to travel with confidence. Screening, face coverings and masks are among the many layers of measures that we are recommending. Leaving the middle seat empty, however, is not,” said de Juniac.

An informal IATA survey of 18 major airlines identified, during January-March 2020, just three episodes of suspected in-flight transmission of COVID19, all from passengers to crew. A further four episodes were reports of apparent transmission from pilot to pilot, which could have been in-flight or before/after (including layover). There were no instances of suspected passenger-to-passenger transmission.

A more detailed IATA examination of contact tracing of 1,100 passengers (also during the January to March 2020 period) who were confirmed for COVID19 after air travel revealed no secondary transmission among the more than 100,000 passengers in the same flights. Just two possible cases were found among crew members.

There are several plausible reasons why COVID19, which is spread primarily by respiratory droplets, has not resulted in more on-board transmission, and why air travel is different from other modes of public transport:

- Passengers face forward with limited face-to-face interactions

* Seats provide a barrier to transmission forward or aft in the cabin

- Air flow from ceiling to floor further reduces the potential for transmission forward or aft in the cabin, moreover, air flow rates are high and not conducive to droplet spread in the same way as in other indoor environments.

- High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters on modern aircraft clean cabin air to hospital operating theater quality, further assisted by high levels of fresh air circulation

Moreover, even if mandated, keeping the ‘middle seat’ open will not achieve the recommended separation for social distancing to be effective. Most authorities recommend 1m-2m while the average seat width is less than 50 cm.

“We need a vaccine, an immunity passport or an effective COVID19 test that can be administered at scale. Work on all of these is promising. But none will be realized before we will need to re-start the industry. That’s why we must be ready with a series measures, the combination of which will reduce the already low risk of inflight transmission. And we must be careful not to hard-wire any solution so we can be quick in adopting more efficient measures as they will undoubtedly become available,” said de Juniac.

Calls for social distancing measures on aircraft would fundamentally shift the economics of aviation by slashing the maximum load factor to 62%. That is well below the average industry breakeven load factor of 77%.

With fewer seats to sell, unit costs would rise sharply. Compared to 2019, air fares would need to go up dramatically— between 43% and 54% depending on the region—just to cover costs.

IATA: Cost of social distancing onboard aircraft.

“Airlines are fighting for their survival. Eliminating the middle seat will raise costs. If that can be offset that with higher fares, the era of affordable travel will come to an end. On the other hand, if airlines can’t recoup the costs in higher fares, airlines will go bust. Neither is a good option when the world will need strong connectivity to help kick-start the recovery from COVID19’s economic devastation,” said de Juniac.

See latest Travel News, Video Interviews, Podcasts and other news regarding: COVID19, IATA, Masks.

Headlines: Langham Signs Hotel and Residences in Australia  IATA Reports Signs of Recovery as RPKs Plunge 94.3% in April  AirAsia Offers Unlimited Flight Date Changes  Qatar Airways to Resume Flights to Venice, Italy  Hong Kong Airlines Appoints APG as GSA in Canada and USA  Amadeus Integrates Troovo's RPA Engine into its B2B Wallet  Delta to Continue Blocking Middle Seats and Limit Pax Per Cabin  Severe Capacity Crunch in Air Cargo; ACTKs Down 42% in April  Park Hyatt Opens in Suzhou, China  Virgin Atlantic to Increase Cargo-Only Flights by 35% in June  FlyArystan to Launch Flights to Aktau, Atyrau and Aktobe  Dassault Completes Falcon 900B Passenger to Cargo Conversion in 8 Days  IATA Urges Governments to Implement ICAO's Guidelines for Restoring Air Travel  Iain Langridge Joins Belmond as Divisional MD Asia Pacific  A400M Completes Full Paratrooper Simultaneous Dispatch Certification  Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong to Close Pierre and the M Bar  Korean Air Adds Baggage Tracking Service to Skypass App  Fiji Airways Cancels All Int. Flights in July; Warns of August Reductions  Shinta Mani Wild Continues to Support Wildlife Alliance Rangers in Cambodia  Southwest Airlines Expands Partnership with Sabre  Bombardier Concludes Sale of CRJ Series Regional Jet Program to Mitsubishi  airBaltic to Resume Flights Between Riga and Paris, France  British Airways Removes Seats from Two Boeing 777-200s  New COVID19 Preventive Measures as HKIA Resumes Transit Services  Mekong Tourism Forum 2020 Postponed to 15-16 February 2021  Joanna Gunn Joins Rosewood Hotel Group as Chief Brand Officer  Bangkok Airways Waives Fees; Offers 20kg Extra Baggage Allowance  Gulf Air Resumes Pakistan Flights  CWT Partners SAP Concur Solutions  Finnair Asks FFP Members How They Feel About Flying Again  Airbus A400M Receives Automatic Low Level Flight Certification  COVID19 Interview with GM of Courtyard by Marriott Siem Reap, Ms. Ashley Lai  Int. Passenger Numbers of Asia Pacific Airlines Down 98.8% in April  Marriott Warns of More Cutbacks; Extends Furloughs and Reduced Work Weeks  Air Canada Cargo Expands Network with 5 New Destinations  SAS to Operate More Flights in June  Arna Wahl Davies Appointed Chair of CINZ's PCO Group  Boeing Resumes Production of 737 MAX  United Airlines Turns Old Uniforms into Masks for Employees  Aviation: Heavy New Debt Levels Will Weigh Down Airline Recovery  Thai Airways Flies Stranded Italians and Thais Back Home  Congo Airways Converts E175 Deal into Order for Two E190-E2s  Finnair Signs 10-Year Global Maintenance Agreement with ATR  Air Canada Looking to Raise Over $1 Billion with Shares and Notes  Air Astana Establishes Cargo Division  Hotels in Asia Pacific Report April Drop in ADR, OR and RevPAR  Fiji Airways Secures Vital Support from Government  Iain McCormack Joins Vakkaru Maldives as GM  Grand Richmond Hotel in Nonthaburi Launches Quarantine Package  airBaltic Reports 500% Increase in Bookings  Wetherspoon Unveils Social Distancing and Hygiene Plans for 875 Pubs  Air New Zealand Reopens Airport Lounges  Fiji Airways Cuts Workforce by Over 50%; Reduces Salaries and Working Hours  Air Canada to Operate Flights to 97 Destinations This Summer  Hertz Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection in USA  Lufthansa Technik to Fit Three A350s with VIP Cabins for German Air Force  Executive Appointments as Norwegian Restructures Management  CAE USA to Develop C-130J Simulators for AFSOC  AirAsia Extends Credits for 2 Years  Rolls-Royce to Layoff at Least 9,000 People  A Song of Support and Thanks to the NHS Staff of Ysbyty Enfys, Llandudno  Aviation: Global Coordination Needed for COVID19 Measures  British & Irish Lions Appoints CFO and Director of Marcom  Hannah Loughlin Joins Six Senses Con Dao as DOSM  Finnair Looking at More Layoffs  SITA Invests in Digital IDs Designed to Replace Traditional Passports  United Airlines Partners Clorox and Cleveland Clinic to Launch CleanPlus  Biosecurity for Air Transport: A Roadmap for Restarting Aviation  airBaltic to Resume Flights from Riga to Berlin, Helsinki and Munich  Etihad Airways Expands Flight Schedule  Eric Hallin Appointed GM of Six Senses Con Dao in Vietnam  Mekong Innovative Startups in Tourism 2020 Calls for Applications  Qatar Airways Starts Codesharing with American Airlines  Airbus Opens First Dedicated A220 Production Facility in USA  Delta Installing Plexiglass Shields at Airports  Finnair to Resume Long Haul Flights in July with Strong Focus on Asia  Hong Kong to Target Domestic Tourism; Reports April Visitor Arrivals  Airbnb Appoints Tara Bunch as Global Head of Operations  Hyatt to Layoff 1,300 People Globally  Thai Airways Extends Suspension of International Flights  Air France to Resume Select Flights  Etihad Holidays Partners dnata Travel Group in UK  IHG Expands Cleaning Protocols at Hotels Worldwide  Finnair Increases Cargo Capacity by Removing Seats from Two A330s  PG to Resume Flights to Chiang Mai, Lampang, Phuket and Sukhothai  Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon Carried Just 13,729 Passengers in April  Singapore Airlines Group's RPKs Down 99.6% in April  HKIA Handled 32,000 Pax and 9,445 Flight Movements in April  Smiths Detection Launches UVC Light Kits for Airport Security Checkpoints  Boeing's X-37B Autonomous Spaceplane Sets Off on 6th Mission  History of Conwy, North Wales - Interview with Councillor Bill Chapman  Qatar Airways to Resume Flights to Brisbane, Australia  Delta to Operate Passenger Flights to Frankfurt and London  MICE: New Zealand Limits Events to 100-People  Mike Delaney to Lead Boeing's Confident Travel Initiative  Delta to Retire Boeing 777s by Year-End  Air Astana Celebrates 18th Anniversary with Resumption of Domestic Flights  Emercom of Russia Takes Delivery of First Ansat Helicopter  Emirates Unveils Plan to Resume Flights to Nine Destinations  Hong Kong Int. Airport Makes it Compulsory to Wear a Mask  Korean Air Outlines Plan to Secure KRW 2.2 Trillion to Overcome COVID19  IATA Takes Pessimistic Look at Future of Air Travel  AirAsia Introduces Contactless Technology to Enhance Safety  WHO Launches Two COVID19-Related Mobile Apps  UK's Civil Aviation Authority Signs MOU with BoeingKevin Schmidt Re-Elected as Chairman of Security Manufacturers Coalition  Cebu Pacific's COVID19 Safety Measures  AirAsia Philippines Cancels All Domestic and Int. Flights Until 31 May  Changi Airport in Singapore to Close T4  American Airlines Expands International Cargo Schedule  Hahn Air Appoints EVP Research & Development  United Airlines Appoints Brett J. Hart as President  Finnair to Require All Passengers to Wear Masks  Luis Gallego to Succeed Willie Walsh as CEO of IAG  Hyatt and American Offer Holidays to NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst Staff  Craig Smith to Become Marriott's Group President - International  UNWTO: 72% of Countries Have Closed Borders to International Tourism  Etihad to Launch Scheduled Flights Between Melbourne and London Heathrow  Resumption of International Air Travel Requires Global Approach  Qatar Airways Giving Away 100,000 Free Tickets to Frontline Healthcare Professionals  Bombardier Wins Delhi-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System Contract  Saab Appoints New CFO and Deputy CEO  Boeing Uses Three Dreamlifters to Transport PPE from China to USA  International Visitor Arrivals Could Fall 60-80% in 2020  Thailand to Promote Domestic Tourism First  HD Videos and Interviews  Podcasts from HD Video Interviews  Travel Trade Shows in 2020 and 2021  High-Res Picture Galleries  Travel News Asia - Latest Travel Industry News 

Subscribe to our Latest Travel News Daily Email Free of Charge by simply entering your email address to the right. You can also receive the daily news service by WhatsApp, stay updated with our RSS Feed Free Travel News RSS Feed and even add the travel news to your website. Have questions? Please read our travel news FAQ.
     
Advertising
Advertising
Copyright © 1997-2020 TravelNewsAsia.com