'You don't need social distancing': Planes safe says Joyce



Qantas CEO Alan Joyce says there is a nearly negligible risk of getting COVID-19 on a plane.

Asked how people can fly while social distancing, he said: "Because the cabin's pressurised, 99.9 per cent of all viruses, all bacteria, are filtered through medical-grade filters, they are usually in operating theatres and the air is extracted every five minutes from the cabin. The air circulates from top to bottom.

"Everybody in an aircraft is facing the same direction with a barrier of a seat in front of them. The medical advice and the medical evidence shows there is a very low risk of transmission of COVID-19."

He told Today there could be hundreds of thousands of people who have travelled worldwide since the pandemic arose and not gotten the virus, claiming "we don't know of a single person-to-person transmission on an aircraft".

"We know, in Qantas's case, we have a lot of cases of people that have subsequently been found with COVID-19 and it hasn't been a transmission. We have a comfort that, with the cabin, with the measures we're introducing - the masks, the sanitisers for people to wipe down, the extra cleaning we're doing ourselves, hand sanitisers all the way through the terminal - we're very comfortable you don't need social distancing on an aircraft."

He said he hopes domestic flights will begin to ramp up by July, before eventually extending to New Zealand.

It comes after the airline revealed a series of new measures that would be rolled out from June 12, including face masks for passengers and increased aircraft cleaning.