Masks make in-flight distancing unnecessary: Global air transport body

mask plane

The International Air Transport Association has proposed a series of measures aimed at relaunching the global air travel industry, including the mandatory use of facemasks, a ban on lining up for onboard washrooms and an end to physical distancing.

The organization says passenger face coverings remove the need for social distancing on board, which it defines as leaving middle seats open.

The association's roadmap to restarting commercial flights, which have dropped off by more than 90 per cent among major Canadian airlines, argues that seats provide a barrier to viral transmission and that air filtration systems are equivalent to those at hospital operating theatres.

Nonetheless, the trade group supports prohibiting washroom lineups to reduce what it calls ``congregation of passengers'' in the cabin.

Air Canada and WestJet Airlines Ltd. both of which the association counts among its 290-odd members say their pandemic policies block the sale of adjacent seats in economy class or throughout the entire plane.

Transport Canada listed social distancing among the ``key points'' in preventing the spread of the virus as part of a guide issued to the aviation industry last month.