Heathrow CEO explains how air travel will change after lockdown

1 May 2020, 12:37

By Adrian Sherling

The chief executive of Heathrow Airport has revealed the measures they will take to keep people safe when the travel after the lockdown.

Heathrow has remained open to help bring vital equipment into the UK, but passenger numbers have plummeted since the coronavirus pandemic began.

The travel industry will have to give people confidence that they will be safe when they go through the airport and board a plane.

Speaking to Nick Ferrari, he said social distancing measures simply aren't possible in air travel.

He said: "I don't think social distancing will work in aviation or in any other transport sector because people are much more condensed together.

"If we're going to get the airport and aviation sector working again and get the economy flowing, we need alternative measures to just social distancing.

"I suspect we will have temperature checks, as you come into the terminal so that you know that if you have a temperature, you're not going to be able to fly, you don't come to the airport. But also, that anyone in the airport is a low-risk person.

"And then I think there will be very good hygiene measures all the way through. There will be less contact between airport workers and passengers because we'll be using more digital technology and more automation."

The boss of Heathrow says social distancing won't work at airports
The boss of Heathrow says social distancing won't work at airports. Picture: PA

Reports suggested that people would need to get to airports four hours before their flight once lockdown ends, but John Holland-Kaye said that was not going to happen.

He said: "I think many of the measures that people are talking about are completely unviable in any normal course of business.

"They may be needed in the next couple of months, but we need to be looking 3-4 months ahead at something that will actually work.

"Remember when the ban on laptops and liquids happened, there were long queues at security and it took us a little while to deal with that and find a process where now, you can fly through security in a minute or two.

"The same thing, I think, will happen with the health screening. And you may not notice them. There have been health checks in Asian airports since SARS and you don't even notice them."

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