Nigeria: 'Physical Distancing Onboard Not Feasible'

5 June 2020

The International Air Trans¬port Association (IATA) has said social distancing as proposed by the federal gov¬ernment is not feasible on-board aircraft.

The Nigerian government had, on Monday, in Abuja, during the daily update by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, said that indigenous airlines could only airlift between 50 and 70 percent of its passenger-capacity on any flight when they resume on June 21.

However, IATA's Director-General, Alexandre de Juniac, said physical distancing was not feasible and implementable in aircraft cabins.

IATA said governments should encourage wearing of face coverings and masks by passengers and aviation workers, routine sanitation and disinfection of all areas with potential for human contact and transmission and health screening, which could include pre- and post-flight self-declarations, as well as temperature screen¬ing and visual observation, conducted by health pro¬fessionals as proposed by ICAO.

Also, IATA said updated contact information of pas¬sengers should be request¬ed as part of the health self-declaration, and inter-action between passengers and governments should be made directly through gov¬ernment portals, and there should be passenger health declaration forms, includ¬ing self-declarations, in-line with the recommendations of relevant health authori¬ties. It added that electronic tools should be encouraged to avoid paper, adding that testing of passengers re¬al-time, rapid and reliable must be available.

"The universal implementation of global standards has made avi-ation safe. A similar ap¬proach is critical in this crisis so that we can safely restore air connectivity as borders and economies reopen. The takeoff guid¬ance document (of ICAO) was built with the best ex¬pertise of government and industry," IATA said.

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