Taking to the skies: How flying looks under Level 2 lockdown
WHAT HAS CHANGED ABOUT FLYING UNDER LEVEL 2?
AT THE AIRPORT
The arrival time for domestic travellers at the airport has been extended from one hour to two hours before the departure of the flight, so be there in plenty of time. Expect long queues as passengers will be subject to strict sanitisation measures before entering the airport building.
Temperature screening will be conducted at the entrances to all the terminal buildings before any passenger is allowed entry and masks are mandatory. If you do forget your mask, there are vending machines at every airport where you can buy a variety of personal protective equipment such as masks, hand sanitiser, and wipes.
Once in the airport, there will be markings on the floor to maintain social distancing of 1.5 metres at check-in counters, security checkpoints, and airport lounges.
All airline check-in agents will wear full personal protective gear, including face screens and masks, and counters will have protective screens and will be regularly sanitised.
There will only be a limited number of check-in counters open at the airport, so it’s probably best for you to check-in online before coming to the airport, or to use self-check-in to avoid queueing. If you have checked-in at home or the office, make sure you have printed out your boarding pass or have it saved on your phone for boarding purposes.
LEVEL 2 SECURITY CHECKPOINT AND BOARDING
Passengers will scan their own paper-based or mobile device-based boarding pass on the scanner at the security checkpoint to minimise physical contact.
Make sure you remove any electronic or metal items that you might have on your person such as mobile phones, keys, watches, wallets, laptops, as this will minimise the need for a physical pat-down at the checkpoint.
Physical distancing rules will apply for people lining up to board the aircraft and passengers will scan their own boarding pass at the boarding gate in Level 2. Masks must be worn and there will be hand sanitiser stations around the airport.
ONCE YOU’RE ONBOARD
Onboard the aircraft, it is mandatory for masks to be worn for the full duration of the flight. According to Mbalula, full capacity will be allowed inside the cabin.
“All our commercial aircraft are fitted with the High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters. These are manufactured to the same standard as those used in hospital operating theatres and industrial clean rooms, with the same efficacy of 99.97% in removing viruses,” he said.
No catering will be allowed; there will be no magazines on board, and the last row will be reserved for the isolation of suspected cases.
All aircraft will be disinfected before entering into service and deep-cleaned and sanitised after each flight.
DISEMBARKATION AFTER FLYING
During the disembarkation process, physical distancing rules will be strictly maintained, and all passengers must wear masks. Physical distancing rules will apply at the baggage carousels and will be strictly maintained to avoid crowding around the carousels.
“Loading capacity for all airport buses must be limited to 70%. These buses must be disinfected after off-loading. Drivers, baggage handlers and ground handlers must be fully equipped with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE),” Mbalula said.
During Level 2, temperature screening will be conducted at the entrances to all the arrival terminals and any suspected cases will be referred to Port Health.