Heathrow boss says only ‘very low risk’ passengers may be allowed to travel after lockdown

The UK’s busiest airport, Heathrow, has reported that passenger levels were down 97 percent in April. Fears over the future of the airline business have arisen during the coronavirus crisis, with many industry professionals calling for a “common international standard” to be implemented. Heathrow Chief Executive John Holland-Kaye also warned BBC Breakfast that certain people may have to be excluded from international travel in order to ensure safety.

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He said: “Social distancing can’t work in any form of public transport, it is just completely impractical.

“For example, remember going on your last summer holiday where you were flying somewhere?

“Can you imagine social distancing in that kind of circumstance?

“We are just not designed for that.”

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Mr Holland-Kaye continued: “That’s why we need a way of making sure that only people who are very low risk are allowed into the airport and can travel through the journey.

“That will make sure that the most people as possible can continue to live their lives as normal.

“It’s not just about passengers, of course, it’s about the goods that go in the cargo holds of passenger planes from Heathrow that are the lifeblood of the British economy.

“We need both passengers and goods to be able to travel all over the world to get the British economy firing on all cylinders. We need Heathrow to be flying again.”

However, Mr Holland-Kaye did not agree that all passengers should be subjected to temperature checks upon arrival at airports.

He told the BBC: “I don’t know whether temperature checks are the right answer or not, but that’s something we need to work on with this Government and with other governments.

“I think it will be a package of measures which will include some kind of health screening.”

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The Heathrow boss continued: “We’ll make sure that people travel safely and confidently through the airport.

“So we can get back to business as usual as quickly as possible.

“There are checks in place that Public Health England put in place, though they are not as visible as they might be in some other airports.

“I think this lack of consistency does create uncertainty with passengers and create a sense that they’re not being as well looked after as we should be.

“That’s why we need to move from each country having their own way of doing things to an international standard.”

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