Coronavirus: Social Distancing On Aircraft "Nice" But Unrealistic, Says Emirates
Emirates airline said Thursday it was unrealistic to establish social distancing on aircraft by leaving seats empty to curb the spread of coronavirus, as the cost would be too high to bear.
The Middle East's largest carrier, which operates a fleet of 270 wide-bodied aircraft, halted operations in late March as part of global shutdowns to help contain the virus.
Emirates resumed operations two weeks later on a limited network and plans to fly to 58 cities by mid-August, down from about 157 before the crisis.
"All this talk about social distancing inside the aircraft is nice," Boutros Boutros, Emirates' head of corporate communications, told a business conference in Dubai. "But... we would like to go back to normal."
"The economy of the aircraft is built on filling it, filling the seats," he said. "Having the space (empty) I don't think is going to be an option unless the passenger is willing to pay."
"What we wish for is one thing, but the reality is another."