Qantas wants to be wheels up as soon as possible

Qantas Group Medical Director: "Social distancing on an aircraft isn’t practical the way it is on the ground, and given the low transmission risk on board, we don’t believe it’s necessary in order to be safe"

Qantas Group is ready to resume domestic flights as soon as borders reopen after announcing the rollout of their ‘Fly Well’ program.

Qantas Group CEO, Alan Joyce said the company has been preparing for state borders to reopen in a matter of weeks—which comes as NSW announced they will open their border on 1 June.

“There is a possibility that we might have nearly all the states opening up as early as July and we’re planning for that,” Mr Joyce said.

The ‘Fly Well’ program involves a number of preflight and onboard measures to help prevent the spread of the virus, including contactless check-in, complimentary face masks for passengers and enhanced aircraft cleaning.

“The actual risk of catching Coronavirus on an aircraft is already extremely low.”

Mr Joyce said the airline’s experience flying people back home to Australia from overseas during the outbreak makes them confident this system will work.

“From the early rescue flights we operated right into Wuhan and then more recently bringing Australians back from places like the US and Europe, we have a lot of experience at creating a safe cabin environment for passengers and crew,” Mr Joyce said.

“We’ll continue to work with government and monitor the rollout of these measures closely, which are designed with safety in mind and help people feel comfortable given the new norms that have emerged in response to the Coronavirus crisis.”

Qantas Group Medical Director, Dr Ian Hosegood, said although social distancing measures aren’t practical on aircraft, passengers shouldn’t worry about catching the virus on board.

“The data shows that actual risk of catching Coronavirus on an aircraft is already extremely low. That’s due to a combination of factors, including the cabin air filtration system, the fact people don’t sit face-to-face and the high backs of aircraft seats acting as a physical barrier. As far as the virus goes, an aircraft cabin is a very different environment to other forms of public transport,” Dr Hosegood said.

According to Qantas group, the ‘Fly Well’ program will begin on 12 June.

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