We continue to engage with the aviation sector on a regular basis, including on social distancing and other health measures. We consulted with the sector prior to developing the Government’s operator and passenger guidance and advised airlines to carry out a risk assessment and implement appropriate risk controls where social distancing was not possible. Wearing a face covering, which is mandatory on-board aircraft, can play a role in helping to prevent transmission of COVID-19, as can regular hand-washing and sanitisation.
Passengers are seated facing forwards in the same direction on board aircraft, which avoids the increased transmission risk of being seated face to face. In addition, air conditioning systems on modern aircraft do filter cabin air every few minutes. These filters are very effective at capturing airborne microbes in the filtered air and, when coupled with the drawn in fresh air, can help to mitigate the longer-range risk of transmission.