Wednesday, 3 June 2020

SOUTH AFRICA: Domestic Flights Resume

Domestic Air travel between four South African cities starts on Monday, airports and airlines will have to adhere to strict rules to ensure physical distancing between travelers.

Check-in counters, security checkpoints, and airport lounges must all have markings on the floor to indicate the 1.5 metre distance people are expected to keep from one another.

Only travelers will be allowed to enter terminal airport buildings under rules for Alert Level 3; anyone picking up or dropping off a passenger must remain outside.

Boarding will be by section to stop crowding, and passengers will be called to gates in a staggered fashion.

Where airport buss are used, those will be limited to loading 70% of their maximum capacity, as is also the case for minibus taxis.

But those restrictions end at the entrance to the plane.

Inside the cabin, full capacity will be allowed, said Mbalula.

It must be noted that the risk of Covid-19 infection onboard a commercial passenger airliner is lower than in many other confined spaces.

Commercial aircraft feature high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters, which are very effective in blocking viruses from being recirculated within a cabin.

Airlines believe the compulsory masks for passengers will take care of the common mechanism by which the coronavirus spreads: droplets liberated when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Any particles that do escape from masks should be drawn to the floor, where air intakes are located, and should then be stopped by the HEPA filters before air flows back into the cabin.

Airplane cabins will not be 100% full, however. The last row of every flight must be reserved for suspected cases of Covid-19, in case a passenger with symptoms of the disease somehow gets through pre-boarding temperature checks.

Flights will feature no catering, and seat-pocket magazines are banned.

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