Tui’s chief executive has argued that charter flying offers a lower risk from infection than scheduled.
Asked about social distancing on Tui’s half-year financial results call this morning, Fritz Joussen said the company would be taking measures and had been consulting with experts about what would be necessary.
“We can’t totally avoid any possibility of infection, but we can mitigate against it,” he said.
“In the aircraft itself – a face mask is very sensible. Our air conditioning filters are comparable to hospital filters.
All indications from the experts say the probability of catching infection in the aircraft is not very high. We also have airflow in the system.”
He continued: “The most secure and mitigating [situation] is when you fly 180 people from an airport to a destination [where they stay] and fly back,” he said.
“It’s much better than having a random group of people let’s say, flying from Frankfurt to London and going wherever.
“On a charter operation, the control of the virus environment, quality and behaviour and the mitigating treatment of the infection is much better than just a random flights.”
Asked about the UK’s newly-announced two-week quarantine procedures, Joussen said: “Let it evolve a bit. Is it realistic to keep that for a long time? I don’t believe so.
“We should be selective about where holidays are possible – source markets and destinations – [that’s] more common sense.”
Joussen added testing was something Tui is negotiating with airports and that local regulations need to be adopted.
Asked his thoughts on the health secretary Matt Hancock’s comment yesterday that it was unlikely that "big, lavish, international holidays" would be possible this summer, Joussen said: “I’m not the health minister.
“What I see on a global basis is that customers want to go on their holidays and politicians, more and more take the view – particularly in Europe – that the free movement is adequate when it is safe.
“I can only say we are ready to provide safe trips to some destinations where customers would like to go.
“Increasingly I get the feeling politicians are following an opening of borders idea if it is safe.”