An Aer Lingus flight to London Heathrow departed from Belfast City Airport on Monday 4 May with “no social distancing” whatsoever according to one passenger.
Photos from the concerned passenger show almost every seat full, with the flight said to be at 95% capacity. Passengers also queued up and boarded the plane in the same manner they would have done prior to the coronavirus pandemic.
As they boarded the plane the passengers were not offered any hand sanitiser and were allowed to go to their seats as normal. In fact, the only advice given to those on board was to wash their hands upon arrival to London.
There are currently only two flights operating out of Northern Ireland, the Belfast City to London Heathrow via Aer Lingus and the City of Derry Airport to London Stansted operated by Logan Air.
Logan Air’s chief executive Jonathan Hinkles believes social distancing onboard aircraft is impossible due to the economic cost of flying planes with fewer passengers. The air conditioning systems on aircraft that recycle air throughout the cabin render social distancing useless according to Hinkles. Instead he calls for the use of masks to be implemented, a measure other airlines around the world are introducing.
In response to the Monday morning flight Aer Lingus has said they are reviewing its processes and procedures and once they identify any changes, they will implement them urgently.
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