Airline passengers may face long-term screening measures under new proposals.
Temperature screening and face masks will become common in airports to help prevent the spread of the new corona virus, while physical distances could make flying more expensive, according to Dubai Airport chief.
All over the world, governments, airports and airlines are considering temporary security measures to restart air traffic, including mandatory temperature controls, wearing face masks and separating passengers.
“We will have to take all measures necessary to protect the traveling public and our staff,” said CEO Paul Griffiths.
Dubai International, one of the world’s busiest airports, suspended passenger services in late March as the United Arab Emirates took drastic measures to curb the virus.
The UAE has since allowed some repatriation flights and eased other restrictions in the Gulf State, although it is not clear when normal flights will restart.
Temporary safeguards could be expected when flights resume, but Griffiths warned that physical distance rules would eventually limit growth as demand picks up again.
“We can’t get close to our original design capacity if we had to keep social distance,” he said.
Dubai airport, hub of Emirates airline, treated Airbus A380s with over 600 passengers before the virus forced the airport to stop flights.
Physical distance could also increase flight fares if airlines were limited to selling fewer tickets to keep some seats empty, Griffiths said.
But until there was a vaccine, treatment, or reliable, quick method to detect the virus, measures should be taken to reduce the risk of infection, Griffiths said.
It is unclear when global travel will recover from the coronavirus pandemic that has shattered demand and will depend in part on countries lifting their blockades.
Regaining public confidence in the safety of air travel is seen as a major challenge by the aviation sector.
Countries that control the spread of the virus and agree to reopen their borders for each other are likely to boost demand for air travel in the short term, Griffiths said.
But it is impossible to say when travel could return pre-pandemic levels.