Aer Lingus has outlined a number of new measures which will take effect on services currently operating and going forward “once business and leisure flying resumes”.

Earlier this month the IAG member carrier was criticised for running a heavily-loaded flight between Belfast and London, and as a result said that it would review its processes and procedures.

All passengers will now be required to wear face masks inflight – these can be in the form of either a reusable cloth or disposable mask, and the carrier said that it is “recommended that these are worn from the time passengers enter the departure airport to the time they leave their destination airport”.

Hospital grade disinfectant will be used to treat all hard surfaces on aircraft, with tray tables, arm rests and windows being deep cleaned by hand, and the interior of aircraft “thoroughly disinfected” daily.

New procedures will see passengers boarding and disembarking in small groups and according to seat row numbers, and at gates customers will scan their own boarding cards and show passports or ID to staff, “making this process contactless”.

Food and drink has been suspended on short-haul flights, and a reduced service will be offered on long-haul routes, with contactless payment for any purchases.

The carrier also said that there will be “reduced passenger movement in the cabin”, without going into detail.

Aer Lingus warned customers to expect measures in airports including protective screens and hand sanitisation stations, and said that “Passengers will be reminded of the importance of good hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, and limiting contact with surfaces as they move through airports”.

Commenting on the measures Peter O’Neill, chief operations officer, Aer Lingus, said:

“The safety and well-being of our customers and staff has always been our central priority. In recent weeks, teams across Aer Lingus have been working tirelessly to develop new processes and procedures informed by international guidance. Our operations teams are introducing these new measures, from implementing additional cleaning and disinfecting, to adopting new procedures at check in, boarding and on board each flight.

“Coupled with the adoption of new procedures by airports and the mandatory use of face coverings on board our aircraft, it is clear that flying is going to be different for the next while.  We want to reassure our customers that when the time comes and we are travelling once again, Aer Lingus will be ready to take you to your chosen destination, as safely as possible.”