What could flying look like post pandemic?

Added 20/05/2020

Travelling by air after the lockdown is lifted is likely be transformed by Covid-19 safety requirements.

Travel Weekly has given a view of what this might look like by reporting on the EU Aviation Safety Agency’s (Easa) draft guidance for airlines and airports which was released last week.

Although the UK government has said that it will operate outside of Easa after leaving the EU in January 2021, it is expected to mimic its guidelines to avoid disruption.

The draft guidance suggests a focus on physical distance between passengers and airport/airline staff rather than health checks at the airport.

  • Only passengers, air crew and staff will be allowed access to airports.
  • Airlines and airports will be required to avoid queuing as much as practicable.
  • Passengers will be told to minimise the use of airport facilities such as shops and restaurants.
  • Airlines will be required to add a health monitoring questionnaire to online check-in.
  • Facemasks must be worn by all passengers and persons in the airport, except at security checks and border control.
  • Airlines and airport operators should ensure physical distancing at all times, especially during check-in, security and boarding.
  • Physical distancing should also be applied as much as possible on board, apart from for members of the same household.
  • Carriers should also complete a ‘passenger locator card’ before landing to aid with contact tracing if any passenger shows symptoms of Covid-19.

Easa have currently ruled out the use of ‘immunity passports’ for people who have been confirmed to have had Covid-19 as they are not supported by scientific knowledge.  

They also ruled out thermal screening of passengers as not effective, as many people with Covid-19 could be asymptomatic, may have symptoms but no fever, or could control a fever with medication.

These are currently only draft guidelines and things are likely to change, but we should get a clearer picture of what post lockdown flying will look like over the next few weeks.