The London airport’s Chief Executive John Holland-Kaye warned that social distancing is not the solution to halting the spread of the virus in airports as this could cause huge queues that could be up to a kilometre long. Mr Holland-Kaye said the problem is not the planes themselves but that the UK’s major international airports including Heathrow do not have the room to have such queues. Mr Holland-Kaye said in The Daily Telegraph that social distancing “won’t work”.
Heathrow: “Just one jumbo jet would require a queue a kilometre long”
Heathrow: The airport boss has instead floated various other suggestions
He added: “The constraint is not about how many people you can fit on a plane, it will be how many people you can get through an airport safely.
“If you’ve ever been on holiday from Gatwick, you cannot imagine going through there and socially distancing in the summer.
“It’s just physically impossible to socially distance with any volume of passengers in an airport.”
The airport boss has instead floated various other suggestions to help stop the spread of the deadly disease.
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Some of his suggestions include increased levels of hygiene, mandatory health checks for passengers and compulsory face masks.
He said: “I think there’ll be a package of measures including some form of screening.
“That might be temperature screening as you see in Asian airports.
“It will include probably people having less contact with each other, so probably wearing masks when they travel.
Heathrow: Heathrow Airport is the UK’s largest International airport
“Less contact between passengers and airport workers. It will include fantastic hygiene in the airport with sanitisers and deep cleaning and things like that.
“I think that package of measures – once we have got the disease under control – will be enough to get people flying again.”
The safety options would help the nation’s airports open as soon as possible in a bid to avoid “massive job losses in our sector”.
Mr Holland-Kaye also predicted that flight prices would “shoot up” due to reduced capacity.
Heathrow Airport is the UK’s largest International airport and is the second busiest airport in the world.
Last month, the airport reported that the number of passengers travelling through Heathrow was down by 97 percent compared to 2019.
In 2018 alone, the airport served 80.1 million passengers in 2018, according to their website.
That year Heathrow had a total of 475,624 flights take off from the hub in west London.