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IATA calls for face coverings and opposes onboard social distancing

IATA calls for face coverings and opposes onboard social distancing

As most airlines and airports look to restart domestic and international flights after a suspension due to the coronavirus, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has drafted a plan to make the cabin environment even safer with effective measures so that passengers and crew can return to travel with confidence.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) backed the wearing of masks by both passengers and crew on all flights as a critical part of a layered approach to bio-security to be implemented temporarily when people return to traveling by air. However, they did not support mandating social distancing measures that would leave ‘middle seats’ empty.

According to IATA the cabin environment naturally lowers the risk of virus transmission on a plane since passengers face forwards, with limited face-to-face interaction, while seats provide a barrier to the person in front. It is also said that the airflow downwards from the ceiling to the floor further reduces the potential for transmission, while airflow rates are not high and “not conducive to droplet spread” as in regular indoor environments.
And the addition of High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters on modern aircraft brings cabin air to hospital operating theater quality.

Measures to Reduce the already low risk of onboard transmission
IATA recommends mandatory face-coverings for passengers and masks for crew as one of several actions to reduce the already low risk of contracting COVID-19 on board aircraft.

In addition to face coverings, these layers of temporary biosecurity measures being proposed include:
• Temperature screening of passengers, airport workers and travelers,
• Boarding and deplaning processes that reduce contact with other passengers or
• Limiting movement within the cabin during flight,
• More frequent and deeper cabin cleaning; and
• Simplified catering procedures that lower crew movement and interaction with

Airlines around the world have already started adjusting their services and taking precautionary measures in compliance to the IATA standards. Some Airlines, like Turkish Airlines are even adding an extra layer of protection by having a team of “hygiene experts” onboard flights as well as providing all passengers with hygiene Kits.

You check out this video to learn more about the hygiene measures implemented.