SYDNEY - Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce has backed the International Air Transport Association (IATA) by claiming blocking off middle seats on aircraft would not be effective in controlling the spread of Covid-19.
Speaking to the ABC, Mr Joyce said he was not in favour of a model where seats were left empty when domestic flights resumed, claiming there was a lack of evidence regarding mid-air transmission of the coronavirus among passengers and crew.
"Even if you take the middle seat as being empty, that's 60 centimetres. The social distancing rules are supposed to be 1.5 metres. If you did that, you'd have very few people on an aircraft and the airfares would have to be very high," Mr Joyce warned.
Previously, IATA said evidence suggested that the risk of transmission on board aircraft was low.
“Mask-wearing by passengers and crew will reduce the already low risk, while avoiding the dramatic cost increases to air travel that onboard social distancing measures would bring," said IATA's director general, Alexandre de Juniac.
Compared to 2019, IATA indicated air fares would need to go up dramatically - between 43% and 54% depending on the region – “just to break even”.