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Posted On: 18 June 2020 09:55 am

Al Baker: Social distancing in planes not necessary, as long as precautionary measures taken

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Social distancing in an airplane is not necessary, as long as precautions are taken, according to Qatar Airways Group GCEO, H.E. Akbar Al Baker in an interview with Sky News on Wednesday.

"If that is implemented, the prices for air travel go will go up extremely, because you'll be carrying a 30-40% load factor on an airplane.

"[You will still] have the possibility to infect somebody else, by touch, or by rubbing into each other when you're going back to your seats.

"So I think that social distancing really should not be implemented in an airplane as long as you're going to take all the precautions you need - masks, gloves - and in Qatar Airways we are also supplying face shields and fully clad PPE for cabin crew."

Al Baker also mentioned that the airlines have 80 routes prioritized to be resumed after the lockdown. "I would like to get all of our route networks back as soon as possible but we have priorities with 80 routes identified and we will start them as soon as lockdowns come to an end."

Commenting on the blockade, he said "We defeated the blockade in a big way, we grew extensively and more than the airlines from blockading countries. We were very resilient and kept our chin up while meeting the economic requirements of our country."

During the interview, Al Baker also mentioned that Qatar Airways is deferring its aircraft orders from Boeing and Airbus.

"Quite a lot of them will be deferred.", he said.

"We have already notified both Boeing and Airbus that we will not be taking any airplanes this year or next year.

"And all the other aircraft that we have on order, that was supposed to be delivered to us within the next two or three years, will now be pushed back to as long as nearly eight to 10 years."

He said that, if traffic increased as business ramped up, Qatar Airways could look at bringing forward those delayed aircraft deliveries.

Source: Qatar Airways, Sky News