Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye has warned social distancing will create "kilometre-long queues" to board at airports.
"Forget social distancing – it won’t work in aviation or any other form of public transport," Heathrow chief executive Holland-Kaye told The Telegraph.
"The problem is not the plane, it is the lack of space in the airport. Just one jumbo jet would require a queue a kilometre long.”
Writing for the paper on Monday (4 May), Holland-Kaye reiterated his call for a "common international standard" for air travel post-coronavirus, including pre-flight health checks.
Holland-Kaye has called on the government to come to an agreement with other world leaders "within a month" to allow airports to reopen in time for summer.
He warned if aviation was not up and running within the next three to five months, there would be "massive job losses" and knock-on employment effects for other sectors too.
The government is expected this week to set out its plans to ease the coronavirus lockdown in the UK, and "unlock" certain parts of the economy.
Holland-Kaye’s comments come after Heathrow last week revealed April passenger numbers at Britain’s busiest airport would likely come in down 97% on the same month last year.
He has suggested a package of measures including temperature screening; reduced contact between travellers and airport staff; compulsory wearing of face masks; and increased hygiene measures such as deep cleaning and hand sanitiser stations.