Temperature tests and face masks are becoming popular sights at airports to mitigate the spread of the new corona virus. However, physical distance could make flying more expensive, said the head of Dubai Airport.
Governments, airports, and airlines around the world are considering temporary security measures to resume air traffic, including mandatory temperature controls, wearing face masks, and passenger separation.
"We must take all necessary measures to protect the traveling audience and our employees," Paul Griffiths told Reuters.
Dubai International, one of the busiest airports in the world, stopped passenger traffic in late March when the United Arab Emirates took drastic measures to contain the virus.
The UAE has since permitted some return flights and relaxed other restrictions in the Gulf state, although it is not clear when normal flights will resume.
Temporary security measures should be expected when flights resume, but Griffiths warned of physical distance rules that would ultimately limit growth if demand recovers.
"We won't be able to operate close to our original design capacity if we have to maintain social distance," he said.
Dubai Airport, the Emirates' hub, carried Airbus A380 with over 600 passengers before the virus forced the airport to stop flying.
The physical distance could also increase airfares if airlines sold fewer tickets to keep some seats empty, Griffiths said.
SUITABLE FOR TRAVEL
But until there was a vaccine, treatment, or a reliable, quick way to detect the virus, measures would have to be taken to reduce the risk of infection, Griffiths said.
It is unclear when global travel will recover from the pandemic that has shaken demand and partly depends on countries lifting their barriers.
Regaining public confidence in air safety is viewed as a major challenge by the aviation industry.
Countries that control the spread of the virus and agree to reopen their borders are likely to increase demand for air travel in the short term, Griffiths said, but it's impossible to say when travel will return to pre-pandemic levels could.
Passenger traffic at Dubai Airport declined by a fifth to 17.8 million in the first quarter as the countries closed their borders due to the outbreak of the corona virus.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)