The boss of Heathrow – the biggest airport in the country – says there is not enough space for the measures to be put in place.
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The airport’s chief executive John Holland-Kaye called for health checks instead.
He wrote in the Daily Telegraph: “Forget social distancing – it won’t work in aviation or any other form of public transport. And the problem is not the plane, it is the lack of space in the airport.”
He added: “Just one jumbo jet would require a queue a kilometre long.”
It comes amid a coronavirus travel lockdown that has threatened the existence of major airlines.
And with some lockdown measures remaining in place for the foreseeable future, air travel could become more of a luxury.
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Airlines may have to cover the cost of fewer passengers per flight with higher fares. Social distancing rules could mean a much diminished flight capacity at just 20 per cent of seats.
But airlines recoup their costs only when a plane is 80 per cent full.
Travellers may also need to wear protective masks or cover their faces with scarves onboard to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
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