Physical distancing impracticable on flights – Sirika

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The minister of aviation, Mr. Hadi Sirika, has said that social distancing is not achievable on flights without telling on airlines’ revenue.

The minster who stated this at a stakeholders’ webinar which focused on the status of the industry restart expressed skepticism about airlines making money while implementing social distancing on board.

Responding to a question by the managing director of Aero Contractors, Capt. Ado Sanusi, who wondered if social distancing would affect airfares, Sirika challenged stakeholders to come up with ingenious ways of achieving safety within the cabin rather than physical distancing.

“The person sitting beside or behind you is not two meters away from you.

“When people say they would block one seat between passengers, what of the guy behind you and the one in front of you? The guy in front of you is in danger; should you sneeze or cough, you are actually coughing over his head.

“It is very difficult to achieve because it means you have to take a sit on my left, right in front and behind to achieve at least 0.5 meters,” said Sirika.

The minister explained that achieving social distancing on flights would mean that airlines stick with 40 per cent of their carrying capacity.

“To achieve that you are saying 30 or 40 per cent capacity should be allowed. I think we should research more between today and over the weekend to come up with something that we can announce soon.

“I cannot see us achieving physical distancing within the airplane and make money,” he added.

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