While most of the world practises social-distancing measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, airlines have faced significant challenges abiding by the rules because of confined cabin spaces.
While some airlines have introduced measures to comply with social distancing, such as blocking the purchase of the middle seat to promote a “safer flying experience”, others are yet to introduce such measures.
One Twitter user shared a photo of a Qantas flight packed with passengers and questioned how a flight was able to travel with so many people on-board.
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According to the man, the Qantas flight was from Townsville in far north Queensland to Brisbane on Monday afternoon.
“This is a on a flight from North Queensland to Brisbane today for work. What kind of social distancing is this?’ the passenger captioned the photo.
In the image, almost every seat is filled and very few passengers are wearing a face mask.
“How ON EARTH can it be acceptable that airlines aren’t required to leave the middle row vacant,” one person commented on the image.
“This is bad, when the rest of the country are isolating,” another added.
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In a statement sent to news.com.au, a Qantas spokesperson said most flights had only been around 30 per cent full – however, passenger numbers increased over the Easter weekend.
“The average load factors on our aircraft have been very low, with most flights around 30 per cent full, so social distancing has been happening by default,” the statement read.
“The weekend saw some flights that were much busier, which was the case on this particular flight. As a result, we have introduced formal social distancing. This means customers will be seated at the window or aisle with the middle seat remaining vacant.
“It’s important to note that there has been no known case of people contracting coronavirus on-board an aircraft anywhere in the world. This includes instances where a passenger has later turned out to have travelled while infected.”
Aviation around the world has been one of the hardest-hit industries amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Both Qantas and Virgin Australia have copped a battering from coronavirus and the related travel restrictions. Between then, both airlines have been forced to stand downs thousands of employees and are now only offering a handful of flights.
On Monday, it was announced both airlines were closing in on a multimillion-dollar deal with the Federal Government to support flights between capital cities; however, there are fears Virgin could soon go into administration.
The company has again been placed in a trading halt ahead of an announcement to the Australian Stock Exchange on Tuesday afternoon.