In Focus

Welcome to Flying 2.0

Robots, thermal helmets, electrostatic sprays, baggage disinfection, UV lights, masks, touchless check-in, thousands of stickers, visors, blood tests, more masks and the middle seat kept free – maybe. Flying is set to return around the world, but, as Adam Thorn explains, the new normal could be anything but fresh air

When Auckland Airport’s general manager, Anna Cassels-Brown, told passengers to expect a “very different experience from before the COVID-19 outbreak”, she was referring to a sweep of modest safety and social distancing changes her business has implemented. New Zealand has become perhaps the first country in the world to reintroduce recreational flying and so the eyes of the industry, particularly in Australia, are on how they will make it work. But the changes it’s implemented seem quite sensible, such as encouraging social distancing, providing passengers with disposable wipes and installing dispensers of hand sanitiser – the item formally known as soap.

Yet around the world, allaying the general public’s fears that aircraft are coronavirus Petri dishes has seen measures proposed from sensible to silly all the way to science fiction. Here, Australian Aviation looks at home and abroad to see what flying will be like when it returns, and just how realistic many of these protocols will be.

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