Qantas and Jetstar have announced new COVID-19 procedures, including hand sanitising stations, onboard masks and wipes, which will be implemented once normal domestic flights resume.

The measures are part of the newly-announced “Fly Well” initiative, to be introduced on June 12, with the aim of minimising the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

The program will introduce hand sanitising stations prior to the flight, regular disinfection of security points, sanitising wipes and in-flight masks. “While [the masks] are not mandatory from a safety point of view,” the program statement reads, “they are recommended to be worn for everyone’s peace-of-mind. Customers can also bring their own mask if they would prefer.”

Although some flights are still underway, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce remains hopeful that the normal domestic flight schedule could resume in a couple of months.

“There is a possibility that we might have nearly all the states opening up as early as July and we’re planning for that,” he told reporters.

“We have the ability to put a large amount of our capacity back into the air dependent on plans and we’re giving people certainty about what the process would look like and the health and wellbeing that we’re putting in place.”

Despite these new procedures, Joyce poo-poo’d the idea of social distancing during the flights.

“Social distancing on an aircraft is impractical,” he said. “It only gives you 60 centimetres between passengers.”

He also added that onboard social distancing measures would make airfares “eight to nine times” higher than normal: “it economically will not be justified.”

For more info on the “Fly Well” initiative, head on over to Qantas’ explainer here.

Image: Getty Images / James D. Morgan