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    Qantas Airways will fly without social distancing

    Credit: Belga

    Australian airline Qantas announced new coronavirus safety measures on Tuesday, which don’t include social distancing on flights.

    The new rules will be published on 22 June, Qantas said.

    Measures will include a contactless check-in, hand sanitising stations at departure gates and social distancing in the company’s lounges.

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    “Social distancing on an aircraft isn’t practical the way it is on the ground, and given the low transmission risk on board, we don’t think it’s necessary for safety,” said Qantas Group Medical Director Dr. Ian Hosegood.

    “The extra measures we’re putting [in] place will reduce the risk even further,” he added.

    On the plane, passengers will receive face masks and sanitising wipes. The crew will disinfect the aircraft “with a focus on high contact areas” such as seats, toilets and overhead lockers. Boarding and disembarking will be carried out in phases.

    “The data shows that the actual risk of catching coronavirus on board an aircraft is already extremely low,” Hosegood said. “That’s due to a combination of factors, including the cabin air filtration system, the fact that people don’t sit face-to-face and the high backs of aircraft seats acting as a physical barrier.”

    “We’re relying on the cooperation of passengers to help make these changes work for everyone’s benefit, and we thank them in advance for that,” said Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce.

    “Given the great job Australians have done at flattening the curve, we’re confident they’ll respond positively to these temporary changes to how we fly,” he added.

    Jason Spinks
    The Brussels Times