Friday, May 08, 2020

Proposed Social Distancing In Aircraft "Eyewash", Says Spicejet Chief

New Delhi: Proposals about social distancing onboard airplanes when the lockdown is over and flight operations resume are not practical, one of the captains of the aviation industry has told NDTV.
Calling the proposals an "eyewash", Spicejet chief Ajay Singh told NDTV, "Keeping a gap between seats is not enough to stop the spread of COVID-19".

Two days before the lockdown was announced, the civil aviation regulator DGCA had asked airlines to ensure that fliers sit one seat apart and cabin crew should maintain distance while serving on flights.

Similar proposals were discussed as part of the modalities while lifting the lockdown.

The other reason why such proposals will not work, he said, was the space crunch inside the airliners, particularly smaller aircraft deployed on regional routes in domestic flights.

"Maintaining social distancing in small aircraft with 2X2 seating would reduce the capacity by 50 per cent. So fares will have to double. That will make it difficult for people to fly," he said, pointing to the fact that global air traffic was down 48 per cent even before the coronavirus pandemic started.

Given the drop in oil prices, airlines are already looking forward to low airfare, he said. In view of the outbreak, it was likely that passenger traffic would be drawn towards air travel.

"Hope passengers travelling long-distance on trains may not want to do that from fear of infection," Mr Singh said.
07/05/20 Vishnu Som/NDTV
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