The post-coronavirus future may be bad news for budget travelers.
While almost all passenger aircraft in the world are immobilized during the pandemic, the industry imagines what the industry will look like when the passengers finally return to the skies.
And that will likely involve tough new safety rules that could see the cost of air fares rise, said the director general and chief executive officer of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
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Alexandre de Juniac tells The independent there were two new concepts that were likely to be part of the future of the industry as governments and health officials sought to protect the health of passengers when the flight resumed.
“De-densification” refers to social estrangement in aircraft cabins and “neutralization” implies seats which must remain empty.
If these concepts are applied, it will mean more empty seats on planes to maintain social remoteness – which means higher airfares as airlines seek to recover lost revenue.
For example, if an aircraft that usually contains 189 passengers took all of the seats in the midfielder, there would only be 126 people authorized on the aircraft.
“Densification, if requested by civil aviation and the health authority, will be done by neutralizing a seat in each row among the two rows of seats of short-haul aircraft,” said de Juniac. The independent.
“This is a complete change to the business model of airlines operating short-haul aircraft.”
Some overseas airlines that still fly domestically are already introducing strict social distancing measures on their flights.
Alaska Airlines blocks middle seats on large planes and aisle seats on small planes, the newspaper said.
The IATA guidelines state that the last three rows of the cabin must be left empty so that there is room for handling in-flight emergencies.
Qantas came under fire this week after a Twitter user shared a photo of a Qantas flight filled with passengers and asked how a flight could travel with so many people on board.
The man said the Qantas flight was from Townsville in the far north of Queensland to Brisbane on Monday afternoon.
“This is one on a flight from North Queensland to Brisbane today for work. What kind of social distancing is this? “Explained the passenger in caption of the photo.
“OUTLOOK GROWS DARKER”
This comes as IATA warns that airline passenger revenues are expected to plummet by 55%, or $ 490 billion, in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This marks a sharp deterioration in forecasts for the aviation industry, as just three weeks ago the decline was estimated at 44%, or $ 393 billion.
“The outlook for the industry is getting darker by the day,” said de Juniac, AFP said.
“The scale of the crisis makes a sudden V-shaped recovery unlikely. Realistically, it will be a U-shaped recovery with domestic travel returning faster than the international market.
“Without emergency aid, many airlines will not survive to lead the economic recovery.”
In early April, the number of flights worldwide was down 80% from the same period in 2019, said IATA, which has 290 airlines.
The aviation crisis started in late January when airlines suspended services to China, where the COVID-19 virus outbreak began.
Since then, IATA has repeatedly increased the estimated lost revenue, as border closings have followed the spread of the new coronavirus around the world.
In its latest assessment, the association took into account restrictions on longer-than-expected international travel and the spread of the virus in Africa and South America.
De Juniac said meetings with governments would begin later this week to develop a plan to restart the sector, first by relaunching domestic flights, then by regional and finally intercontinental routes.
“Monitoring the health of passengers will be a key part of this restart,” he said.
Although he cannot say at the moment what form it would take, he said that there should be uniformity in the world to avoid a patchwork approach.
IATA requests that airlines receive financial relief in the form of loans, loan guarantees, support for the corporate bond market and tax breaks.