The UK government has today (11th June) outlined its guidelines for the safe resumption of COVID-secure international commercial air travel.
The guidance, produced by the government’s International Aviation Taskforce, in collaboration with the air and travel industry, also provides advice for passengers on how to travel safely and how to follow social distancing measures at each stage of their journey.
Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, said:
“Today’s guidance is a positive next step towards ensuring a safer and more sustainable aviation sector.
The government’s advice currently remains to avoid all non-essential travel, but today we are taking the necessary steps to ensure a framework is in place for the aviation industry to bounce back when it is safe for restrictions on travel to be lifted.”
Passengers are advised to remain seated as much as possible during the flight, wearing face coverings when in the airport, wash their hands regularly after touching any surfaces and check-in all baggage including hand luggage.
Tim Hawkins, Chief Strategy Officer at Manchester Airport, said:
“This new guidance provides the basis for the restart and recovery of the UK aviation industry – it offers clear information for us, our passengers and our airlines on the steps needed to create a safe travel experience.
The guidance is the result of strong collaboration between government and the aviation industry, drawing on advice from independent medical and scientific experts who have looked specifically at what safety measures are needed at each stage of the travel process.
With similar protocols being adopted in other countries, and a targeted approach to reopening travel to low-risk countries, we will have the elements in place to get our economy moving again and protect jobs throughout the whole aviation supply chain.”
The guidance is intended to help airline operators maintain a safe environment for their customers including reducing the amount of interaction between staff and passengers as much as possible, extensive cleaning of the aircraft and increasing the availability of handwashing and sanitizer facilities. It also provides critical advice to all air passengers from the start through to the end of their journey.
This is intended as a framework for the industry to operate from once travel restrictions are lifted and when it is safe to do so.