Published on Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Aer Lingus to hold review after packed flight concerns

Aer Lingus says it is reviewing health and safety procedures on flights between London and Belfast after a claim that it isn't observing the Government's recommended social-distancing measures.


Passenger Sean Mallon took photos of an Aer Lingus flight to Heathrow showing most of the seats filled and passengers sitting shoulder to shoulder.


Mallon told the BBC there was 'no social distancing whatsovever' on the flight from Belfast City airport.


Aer Lingus told the broadcaster that safety was its 'top priority' and any necessary changes would be implemented urgently.


All Aer Lingus flights have been suspended due to Covid-19, with the exception of two London services operating from Belfast City and City of Derry.


Mallon, who was travelling to England for work, said airline staff did not offer any guidance on social distancing before or during Monday morning's flight.


"I would say there was about 95% of the seats taken on the flight," he told the BBC's Evening Extra programme.


Passengers had queued up and boarded in the same way as prior to the pandemic, he said.


"The queues were down the steps and out on to the tarmac as they were before all this happened," he said.


Passengers were not offered hand sanitiser and the only advice they were given was a reminder to wash their hands after landing.


In a statement, the airline said: "In light of the unexpectedly high loads on the Belfast - London Heathrow service this morning and the level of demand for the route, Aer Lingus is reviewing its processes and procedures applicable to the operation of this service.


"The safety and security of Aer Lingus' customers and crew is our top priority and any process changes that are identified as being required will be implemented as a matter of urgency."

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