Emirates Airline’s Sir Tim Clark, in an interview with The National, Abu Dhabi, opines that that COVID-19 pandemic is upsetting the airline industry. He feels that the industry doesn’t need permanent social distancing on planes. The virus will either peter out or we’ll get a vaccine.

The idea of reconfiguring planes, removing seats on planes or permanently factoring in spacing requirements in the future—in line with social distancing measures—is untenable and not sustainable, Mr Clark said.

“My view is basically two-fold. One, it wouldn’t surprise me if this virus disappeared completely by the end of summer. But if it doesn’t, then the pursuit of the vaccine is the only way we are going to be able to deal with it when it comes to international travel, and to some extent hospitality and other kinds of transport,” Mr Clark said.

“My own view, my gut feel is telling me that by the summer of next year we could be well on our way to mass global inoculation … and therefore things will change. If that happens all this business about spacing on aeroplanes, on buses, trains and restaurants and hotels goes away,” he added. “In the meantime of course, as long as this is going on, and if it’s another year then we are going to have to live with the agonies as far as air transport is concerned … with countries … taking down lockdown procedures.”

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