Social distancing will be impossible at airports — with a 1km boarding queue for each plane, Heathrow boss says

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SOCIAL distancing will be impossible at airports — as each plane would have a 1km boarding queue, Heathrow’s boss says.

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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Air travellers queuing outside the departures area at London’s Heathrow Airport on May 1, 2020
Rex Features

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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