Temperature screening and face masks will become common sights at airports to mitigate the spread of the new coronavirus but physical distancing could make flying more expensive, the head of Dubai airport said.
Around the world, governments, airports, and airlines are considering temporary safety measures to restart air travel, including mandatory temperature checks, wearing face masks, and keeping passengers apart.
“We are going to have to take whatever measures are necessary to protect the traveling public and our staff,” Chief Executive Paul Griffiths told Reuters.
Dubai International, one of the world’s busiest airports, suspended passenger services in late March as the United Arab Emirates took drastic measures to contain the virus.
The UAE has since allowed some repatriation flights and eased other restrictions in the Gulf state, though it is not clear when normal flights will restart.
Temporary safety measures should be expected as flights resume but Griffiths cautioned physical distancing rules would eventually limit growth as demand rebounds.
“We will not be able to operate at anything close to our original design capacity if we had to maintain social distancing,” he said.
Physical distancing could also increase airfares if airlines were restricted to selling fewer tickets in order to keep some seats empty, Griffiths said.