Airports and airlines have outlined new safety measures as flights start to ramp up in Switzerland. Face masks are mainly recommended, but are in some cases compulsory, while social distancing measures may increase waiting times once passenger numbers increase.This content was published on May 28, 2020 - 14:06
While the wearing of masks is highly recommended, rather than compulsory, at Zurich and Geneva airports, police will have the power to insist on them being worn if people become too tightly packed together. Basel-Mulhouse airport says that face masks will be mandatory.
All three airports have installed plexiglass screens and have increased cleaning services, focusing especially on surfaces that could be touched by many people, such as stair handrails and elevator buttons. Disinfectant hand dispensers will be made available for passengers. Floor markings have also been added to aid social distancing.
Zurich says it will open extra passport control booths and make use of overflow lanes at security check. The number of passengers will be restricted on buses taking travellers to aircraft at Geneva airport, as it will be on buses and the Skymetro rail link running to Terminal E at Zurich.
Zurich will limit the number of people greeting incoming passengers at arrivals in Terminal 2. Shops at both Geneva and Zurich airports will be open with hygiene and social distancing measures in place.
Swiss International Air Lines has strongly recommended that passengers wear masks, but EasyJet has taken it a step further by making this a necessary condition for flying.
Food will not be available on EasyJet flights for the time being. For its part, SWISS will start with a restricted meal and drinks offering. Magazines and duty-free shopping will also not be available on-board aircraft initially.
Neither airline will restrict passenger seating. EasyJet once mooted the idea of leaving middle seats free but has dropped the idea. Thomas Frick, chief operating officer at SWISS, told reporters on Thursday that the airline could not afford to operate flights with reduced seating in the long run.
EasyJet, SWISS and Edelweiss will resume some passenger flight routes from Switzerland in June. SWISS plans to operate up to 190 flights from Zurich and Geneva to 41 European destinations, but estimates that by the end of the year services will only be at 50% of pre-crisis levels.
Edelweiss, also part of the Lufthansa group, returned to the air on May 28, with plans to operate 171 flights to 36 holiday destinations by the end of June.
EasyJet will start to fly out of Geneva again on June 15 to popular holiday destinations.
Flights will also increase at Basel-Mulhouse starting in June.
This week, the Swiss government unveiled its final plans for bringing the country out of lockdown.
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