Introducing social distancing at airports is “physically impossible”, the boss of Heathrow has warned.

Chief executive John Holland-Kaye said a “better solution” is needed to make air travel safe as he called for the UK to lead the way in developing a common international standard of measures which could include temperature checks for all passengers.

He told the PA news agency: “Social distancing does not work in any form of public transport let alone aviation.

“The constraint is not about how many people you can fit on a plane, it will be how many people you can get through an airport safely.

“If you’ve ever been on holiday from Gatwick, you cannot imagine going through there and socially distancing in the summer. It’s just physically impossible to socially distance with any volume of passengers in an airport.”

Social distancing on planes would reduce capacities by more than 50pc and mean “prices would shoot up”, Mr Holland-Kaye predicted.

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