Published on Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Heathrow starts temperature trials

Heathrow Airport is trialling large-scale temperature checks at departure gates for passengers heading to countries where this is a requirement.

However, boss John Holland-Kaye told a meeting of MPs that airports are waiting for the Government to say what common standards airports should adopt to allow airlines to resume more frequent services.

He told the Transport Select Committee that if the only solution was to put in place social distancing measures until a vaccine is found in '12 to 18 months', tens of thousands of jobs will be lost.

"We cannot afford to wait that long to get flying again," he said, while also calling on the Government to follow the example of the French, German and US in providing aviation rescue packages.

Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, who joined Holland-Kaye in giving evidence to MPS, said airlines have outlined three levels of measures, with the idea that each country adopts a specific level.

Any flight between two destinations would have to comply with the highest level, with staff wearing personal protective equipment and all passengers wearing masks under level three.

International airline body IATA has come out in favour of passengers and crew wearing face-masks, but it says social distancing on flights would be too expensive and ineffective.

The Select Committee hearing followed the announcement by Virgin Atlantic that it is cutting 3,150 jobs in the UK and temporarily pulling out of Gatwick to consolidate its flights at Heathrow and Manchester.

Virgin Atlantic is also applying for a government loan.

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