Nevertheless, even with this health protocol and all the precautionary measures required of passengers, airlines and airports, demand for air transport cannot increase and keep growing unless passenger confidence is restored.
It is therefore essential to reassure passengers who are worried about catching the virus during air travel and convince them that the risk of being infected at the airport or on board the plane is minimal.
In fact, airports are actually clean, safe places; all passengers must wear a mask at check-in, while boarding, during the flight and when disembarking. Physical distancing of at least 1 metre at check-in desks and while boarding is mandatory. Temperature screening is also mandatory before entering the terminal, and body temperature is checked again prior to boarding. Disinfection and cleaning are carried out continuously and hydroalcoholic gel dispensers are available everywhere.
Moreover, planes are very safe places with respect to Covid-19 transmission, given that mask wearing is compulsory, the cabin air is renewed every two to three minutes and the cabin is equipped with HEPA particle filters, which absorb 99.9% of particles and are identical to those used in operating theatres. This renewal ensures that the air on board is healthy.
Insurance and precautionary measures could be considered once a vaccine is available. These could include making it compulsory for passengers to have the Covid-19 vaccine before boarding and setting up a health passport (international vaccination record).
Several international organizations are currently working on this. The International Civil Aviation Organization published the second edition of its “Take-off” guidelines on 17 November 2020: Guidance for Air Travel Through the COVID-19 Public Health Crisis (CART II), which includes additional recommendations and guidance in light of new developments relating to the Covid-19 crisis and supplements the recommendations included in CART I, published in June 2020.