Planes to ditch ‘social distancing’ measures from June 1

Airplanes currently flying at ⅔ capacity can ditch this measure – brought in to ensure social distancing – from June 1.

This is the news coming out today as more and more airlines announce their returns to the skies.

Says Lusa, the change was decided by the government, which stipulates that from June 1 the use of a community mask on board flights at all times will be obligatory.

A statement from the ministry of infrastructures and habitation explains that “in international terms recommendations on a series of sanitary measures have been studied and proposed to combat the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic in the airline transport sector, and the limitation of capacity on airplanes is not part of these recommendations”.

There is no justification, therefore, for Portugal maintaining the limit it imposed earlier this month which – the government now concedes – would only serve to “prejudice airline companies subject to its jurisdiction”.

Portugal’s original decision – involving blocking off ‘middle seats’ on both sides of the aircraft aisle – was instantly trashed as “idiotic” by Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary.

Within days decision-makers in Brussels were admitting O’Leary had a point (click here), but it has taken the intervening weeks to persuade everyone onto the same page.

Ryanair is due to resume flights in and out of Europe by July 1, with easyJet returning to reduced schedules by June 15.

Says the government, its law limiting airline capacity nº 106/2020 will thus cease to have any effect from June 1.

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