How will air travel change after Covid-19 ? IATA tenders guideline for recovery

In April 2020, the CEO of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) remarked that the aviation industry has never seen a downturn this deep before, likening the covid- 19 pandemic to a war, which has brought death and economic devastation. This will remind us how will air travel change after Covid-19. The air travel outlook at the start of the new decade was promising, demand was surgeon worldwide, fueled by a growing middle-class in emerging economies. But with airplanes grounded and borders closed because of the pandemic, many airlines and airports are using this period of inactivity to relook at the future of air travel.

How will air travel change after Covid-19?
The days of packed aircraft and limited legroom may be a thing of the past as social distancing measures kinking with economies reopening airlines are implementing a slew of measures to ensure the safety of passengers.

To that and carrier such as American airlines and Japan Airlines are blocking seats on board its flights. While Emirates is pre-allocating seats between individual passengers or family groups.

But what does the reduction in passenger capacity mean for airlines ?
Before the pandemic IATA suggested that there would be 8.2 billion air passengers in 2037, nearly double the 4.2 billion passengers reported in 2018. The biggest demand for air travel was projected to come from the Asia-Pacific region. China was poised to overtake the United States as the largest air passenger market with India, Indonesia, and Thailand making inroads by 2030. That rosy outlook was all but gone in IATA’s April forecast, which it deemed catastrophe.

Brian Pierce from IATA stated “The past remarks is clearly been worst. We never seen aviation’s been to remember seeing airlines grounding their operations. In March and April was low point when international travel stopped, we saw air travel down to 98%.We would expecting second half next year to see some recovery.

According to IATA for year passengers revenue in 2020 is expected to fall by 55% compared to 2019. While there will be a 48% decrease in air traffic. This is reflected in the plunge in scheduled flights are seen In 2019. That number plunged by more than 65% year on year in June.

Brian Pierce added ” Domestic air travel will be enough to kick starts the airline industry in some countries.”

As travel restrictions ease the safety of passengers is paramount to avoid another wave of infections. Qatar Airways has continued its international flights during the pandemic. Despite the plunge in air travel. Its group CEO Akbar Al Baker stated “we have never stopped flying, We were the largest international operator for the last three months, from March until April and May.”
Besides putting in place the safety recommendations by IATA, Qatar Airways is also reviewing its meal services to minimize contact between its cabin crew and passengers. Similar measures are also in place for other international carriers such as Singapore Airlines. which has suspended its in-flight meals for some routes. While British Airways will be replacing in-flight meals with new boxes instead.

“We have given all our cabin crew training, in how to make sure, we identify if there is anybody that has symptoms on an airplane and secondly how to handle issues when there are a risk. All items are very well sterilized. Qatar Airways is only international airline that you will find premium cabin that completely enclosed. so there is no need of social distancing because you’re not in contact with anybody that is sitting next to you.” CEO of Qatar Airways.

Flying is now a necessity not a luxury disruption to air travel has affected business and families alike. IATA safety recommendations done in collaboration with the airports Council International include best practices for airlines, airports and local authorities to resume commercial flights. From preflight, in-flight and arrival safety recommendations include contact tracing the use of personal protective equipment and enabling contact less services.With airlines, restarting flights and more countries easing travel restrictions could things be looking up in the second half of 2020. Patrick Nolan aviation technology consultant says that the pandemic has disrupted pilot training.

With costs increasing in revenues falling, there may be a consolidation in the airline sector says Prof. Keith Mason from Center for transport management. while those receiving government aid and more likely to survive fully independent airlines make a lot of business.
Keith Mason added “We may end up with a slower airline industry, which may mean that there’s less choice for consumers and their prices may go up that my flattened demand. I don’t see any stability in international air travel until we get to a point where the whole of the market has been able to control the impact Covid-19. The growth out of the challenges will be piecemeal and localized in between countries where they have been able to control the bars. The industry will come out of this. It will be leaner. There will be fewer players, but there will be an industry it will continue to drive economic activity on a global basis.”

One thing is clear, sweeping changes will be needed for the airline sector to adapt to a world post pandemic, as airlines and airports gear up to resume operations how we travel in the future will change for better or for worse.

Source: CNBC ,IATA, Different articles from authorities regarding how will air travel change after Covid-19 , All photos copyright with CNBC.

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