Geneva [Switzerland], Aug 25 (ANI): The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has appealed to all travellers to wear face covering during travel journey for the safety of all passengers and crew during COVID-19.
Wearing face coverings is a key recommendation of the International Civil Aviation Organisation's (ICAO) guidance for safe operations during the pandemic as developed jointly with the World Health Organisation and governments.
IATA emphasising the need for passengers to comply with the recommendation following recent reports of travellers refusing to wear a face covering during a flight.
While this is confined to a very small number of individuals, some onboard incidents have become violent, resulting in costly and extremely inconvenient diversions to offload these passengers.
"This is a call for common sense and taking responsibility. The vast majority of travellers understand the importance of face-covering both for themselves as well as for their fellow passengers and airlines appreciate this collective effort," said IATA's Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac.
"But a small minority create problems. Safety is at the core of aviation, and compliance with crew safety instructions is the law. Failure to comply can jeopardise a flight's safety, disrupt the travel experience of other passengers and impact the work environment for the crew," he said.
According to tests at the University of Edinburgh, face covering when properly worn can cut the forward spread of potential COVID-19 droplets from the mouth by 90 per cent.
Other measures to protect the safety of passengers during the pandemic include contactless check-in and immigration formalities at both the departure and arrival airports, social distancing where possible, increased cleaning and sanitisation at airports and on aircraft, and contact tracing.
"The research we have seen to date and our own investigations with the world's airlines tell us that the risk of catching COVID-19 on a flight remains very low. There appears to be a number of factors supporting that," said IATA's Medical Advisor David Powell.
"The high flow rate of cabin air from top to bottom, constant filtering of air through state-of-the-art high-efficiency particulate air filters, the fact that all seats face the same direction, and of course wearing a face covering and sanitisation of the aircraft all play a part," he said.
"This is not just about protecting yourself. It is about protecting everyone else on the flight," said Powell. (ANI)