Aer Lingus are to put on additional flights on the busy Belfast-London Heathrow service after pictures emerged of an almost full flight yesterday.
Photos were shared from inside the cabin of an Aer Lingus flight travelling from Belfast where no apparent evidence of social distancing measures could be seen.
Aer Lingus has since conducted a review in consultation with Belfast City Airport and have taken the decision to implement several measures.
This was the @AerLingus flight from @BELFASTCITY_AIR to @londonheathrow this morning at 8:45. No social distancing taking place - one passenger told me they weren’t given any advice on how to keep themselves safe. More on @BBCevex next @taramillstv @NewsDeclan pic.twitter.com/eeAfcGf23O— Kelly Bonner (@KellyBonner) May 4, 2020
The airline said that all customers due to travel on the Belfast-London Heathrow service have been contacted and have been advised to allow additional time at the airport before their flight.
"The check-in process will take longer as an increased number of bags will be checked into the hold of the aircraft," a statement from the airline said.
"In addition there will be changes to the boarding procedure and there will be no inflight service provided on board."
Due to the high demand on the route, additional flight frequency on each day of operation has been introduced.
The two services will depart at 8.45am and 9.45am on each day of operation.
It is hoped that additional flights will see a reduction in the "unexpectedly high loads" on the flight.
"The Belfast – London Heathrow service is provided to maintain a vital air link between Belfast and London and to allow critical workers to travel where required," Aer Lingus said.
"The safety and security of Aer Lingus’ customers and crew is our number one priority, and these process changes are being implemented as a matter of urgency.”
This afternoon, Stormont’s health minister Robin Swann said he was shocked to see the images of the busy flight.
"It was as if they were living in a time before Covid-19, completely oblivious of the regulations and social distancing and guidance that have been enunciated and published by our executive here and the government in Westminster," Mr Swann said.