After the controversy sparked by a picture of a flight packed with passengers wearing no protective equipment, Air France announced it would distribute masks in planes when the number of passengers is too high to respect the social distancing imposed to counter the COVID-19 pandemic.
A journalist shared the picture of flight AF6008 from Marseille Provence Airport (MRS) to Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG). The cabin of the Airbus A318, registered F-GUGJ, is almost full. “After respecting social distancing while waiting in line to board, passengers find themselves seated side by side,” she commented. While the cabin crew was equipped with personal protective equipment, most of the passengers were not wearing masks.
Dans le vol @AirFranceFR Paris-Marseille ce matin. Après avoir fait la queue en respectant la distanciation sociale, les passagers se retrouvent assis côte à côte Le vol est complet.
Apparté : aucun contrôle d’attestation pour vérifier les motifs de déplacement. pic.twitter.com/JqcWsK5gTR
— Charlotte Gillard (@ChaGillard) April 18, 2020
Facing a backlash, Air France explained that the reason for this dangerous situation was an unusual filling rate. The route between Paris and Marseille, which has been reduced to one daily flight due to low demand, is usually 50% full, allowing for social distance to be respected. The carrier thus claims that the situation seen in the picture is exceptional.
Air France released a statement reminding that the air inside an aircraft cabin is constantly filtered using High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) standard filters “identical to those used in an operation room”. “The cabin air is thus completely renewed every 3 minutes,” claims the carrier. “HEPA filters extract