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IATA backs face masks but not middle seat closures for post-coronavirus air travel

May 6, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - APRIL 29, 2020: AirAsia flight attendants wear face mask as they walk towards the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) Terminal building on April 29, 2020 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. AirAsia resumes its scheduled domestic flights today, commencing with Malaysia followed by Thailand, the Phillipines, India and Indonesia, subject to approval of the authorities. (Photo by Rahman Roslan/Getty Images)

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), a trade group representing airlines around the world, has come out against blocking off middle seats on airplanes. But it's in favor of both passengers and crew members wearing face masks on board.

(CNN) — The International Air Transport Association (IATA), a trade group representing airlines around the world, has come out against blocking off middle seats on planes, while recommending both passengers and crew members wear face masks on board instead.

"Mask-wearing by passengers and crew will reduce the already low risk, while avoiding the dramatic cost increases to air travel that onboard social distancing measures would bring. "

"In these conditions, there is no airline which is able to fly and make money on these flights," IATA's Director General, Alexandre de Juniac, told CNN's Richard Quest on a recent episode of "Quest Means Business. "

Instead, IATA is offering up other suggestions for how everyone can stay safe on board once commercial air travel resumes.

These include requiring all cabin crew members and passengers to have their temperatures screened before boarding, limiting movement within the cabin during flight, more intensive deep-cleaning procedures and cutting back on in-flight catering in order to lessen the amount of person-to-person interaction.

At present, it's still up to individual travelers, airlines and airports to decide on their mask policies.

Several US airlines, including JetBlue, Delta and Frontier have announced that they will require passengers to wear masks on board.

Canadian Transportation Minister Marc Garneau announced a ruling that all airplane passengers on flights to and from the country, including transit passengers who aren't leaving the airport, will be required to wear some kind of face covering.

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