Would you get on this flight? Horrified passenger shares a photo of a PACKED Qantas plane with travellers sitting right next to each other despite strict social-distancing rules
- Qantas passenger claims he was on packed plane in breach of social distancing
- Was on flight from Townsville in North Queensland to Brisbane on Monday
- Qantas has slashed flights between the two cities from 36 per week to just 14
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- Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID
A shocked Qantas passenger has shared a photo of a plane packed with passengers in breach of current social distancing laws brought in to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
The man claimed he was flying from Townsville in far north Queensland to Brisbane on Monday afternoon.
The photo he shared on Twitter shows every seat filled with passengers sitting well within the minimum 1.5m of each other and not wearing face masks on the one hour and 45 minute flight.
‘This is a on a flight from North Queensland to Brisbane today for work. What kind of social distancing is this?’ the passenger captioned the photo.
A passenger claims the photo was taken on a flight from Townsville to Brisbane on Monday
The passenger insists the photo was taken on Monday and also shared a photo of his boarding pass to back up his claim.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted the passenger for further details.
A Qantas spokesman told Daily Mail Australia the airline was unable to verify whether the photo was taken on Monday’s flight.
He added social distancing had been happening by default on most flights due to low patronage.
‘The average load factors on our aircraft have been very low, with most flights around 30 per cent full, so social distancing has been happening by default,’ the spokesman said.
‘The weekend saw some flights that were much busier, which was the case on this particular flight.
‘As a result, we have introduced formal social distancing, this means customers will be seated at the window or aisle with the middle seat remaining vacant.’
The spokesman added there have been no known cases anywhere in the world of people contracting coronavirus on board a plane.
Qantas recently slashed the number of flights between Brisbane and Townsville by more than 60 per cent, from 36 flights a week to just 14.
The national carrier has suspended all international flights and more than 50 per cent of its domestic routes until at least the end of May.
Qantas has also significantly reduced its in-flight entertainment and food/beverage service due to new government restrictions and a dramatic decline in travel demand.
The passenger posted a photo of his boarding pass (pictured) from Monday and insists the photo is genuine
‘We’ll no longer be serving meals on domestic or regional flights. Our crew will continue to offer a complimentary bottle of water and a snack on these services,’ the Qantas website states.
The in-flight entertainment and wi-fi services, including the onboard magazine have also been temporarily halted.
Qantas and Virgin Australia could be on the verge of receiving a bailout package from the federal government to continue operating domestic flights during the crisis.
The funding agreement is reportedly nearing completion and is worth tens of millions of dollars.
Troubled Virgin Australia and Qantas set for a ‘massive’ deal on domestic flights
Virgin Australia has halted trading of its stock as the airline waits to find out whether it will receive a federal government bailout to keep flying domestically.
The embattled airline requested an immediate halt to trading on the ASX on Tuesday morning ahead of an announcement later in the day.
The trading halt comes amid reports Virgin and its biggest rival Qantas are closing in on a multi-million dollar deal with the federal government to support domestic flights between capital cities.
‘Virgin Australia has requested a trading halt as it continues to consider ongoing issues with respect to financial assistance and restructuring alternatives,’ a Virgin Australia statement read on Tuesday.
‘This has arisen due to the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis which has particularly impacted the aviation sector.’
‘Virgin Australia has been keeping the air fair in Australia for 20 years and we want to continue to provide a valuable service to all Australians, the 16,000 people employed directly and indirectly, and enable the broader economy to restart quickly once we emerge from this crisis.’
Grounded Virgin Australia aircraft at Brisbane Airport last week. The ailing airline, along with Qantas, could be about to receive government funding to keep domestic flights running during the COVID-19 pandemic
Both airlines have been hard hit during the pandemic amid fears Virgin could soon go into administration.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said any public funding for aviation would be spread across the entire sector.
‘We haven’t been picking any winners or picking any favourites here,’ he told Nine.
‘What we have been doing is ensuring sector-wide support, which has been already quite significant for the aviation sector.’
The government has already confirmed it will provide financial support for regional routes and stump up $100 million to address the cashflow crisis among a dozen small airlines.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack is now working directly with Qantas and Virgin on ways to subsidise flights between major cities.
‘They have already worked together on international routes that are vital not just for bringing people home or getting people to their homes, but also to support much-needed freight and the transfer of medical supplies,’ Mr Morrison said.