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Barr Ellison Solicitors – commercial property
7 May, 2020 - 20:12 By Kate Sweeney

Stansted makes passengers cover up to combat killer virus

Passengers travelling through Stansted Airport will be asked to cover their faces and wear gloves from now on. 

The new guidance comes from the airport’s owner, Manchester Airports Group which is also trialling the measures across its other airports, Manchester and East Midlands. 

The move makes these airports the first in the UK to ask their passengers to wear face coverings.

Passengers are being encouraged to bring their own gloves and face coverings or face masks to the airport. However, in the early stages of the pilot, for those arriving without, gloves and masks will be provided that can be worn throughout passengers’ time in the airport.

Staff will also be on hand to guide passengers and help them navigate through the usual security processes while wearing protective equipment.

The move by MAG is designed to ensure that the small number of passengers currently making essential journeys through its airports feel safer and more confident about flying, as well as providing a further level of protection to colleagues working at the airport. 

MAG also believes that the new guidelines represent a first step towards demonstrating ways in which air travel can be safe when more passengers start travelling again. 

At present, with few flights and passengers at the airport, social distancing is practised in Stansted’s terminal and the new guidelines will not change that. However, in the future, face coverings and gloves may form an important part of operating a busier airport terminal safely. 

The pilot scheme will therefore provide valuable feedback and set a path towards a new minimum standard for safe international travel.

In addition to the new guidelines for passengers, all MAG colleagues serving passengers at Stansted will wear gloves and face masks and all staff working for airport partners will be encouraged to follow suit.

Stansted will also be conducting some limited temperature screening trials over the next few weeks. Initially, during this trial phase, this will be to test equipment and results will not be communicated to passengers or used to decide whether a passenger can travel.

MAG is considering asking all passengers to make a health declaration in order to enter its airports and will give passengers sufficient notice of any such trials.

Steve Griffiths, Stansted’s chief operating officer, said: “It’s clear that social distancing will not work on any form of public transport. But we’re confident that when the time is right, people will be able to travel safely.

“Here at London Stansted, we’ve been working hard with our two sister airports and the rest of the industry on a new safety framework for travel. We now need to work urgently with Government to agree how we operate in the future. This has to be a top priority so that people can be confident about flying, and to get tourism and travel going again.

“We have taken expert medical advice on how people can travel safely, and we’re pleased to be piloting these new measures at our airports for those passengers who do still need to travel. We expect to be able to agree a new framework by the end of May that will support a restart of the industry as soon as possible.”

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