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A few months ago the corona virus started in china, people from china traveled around the world and distributed the virus to hundreds of different locations.
This created for us for the first time a reality of a pandemic, more than any virus that human history knows of.
Now all of humanity will have to find a way to come back from this and fly by plane in a safe way and travel again to many countries.
The corona virus destroyed the flying industry. In the beginning of January there were more than 113,000 flights a day around the world. On the same day of the week in April it was less than 27,000. This 27,000 includes emergency equipment and cargo as well as passengers.
In the last week of March there was a drop of 63% compared to the year before.
All countries now would like to verify that they are not bringing more carriers of the virus and so have stopped or are limiting flights. Countries in a good condition may be desperate for the money that can come from the tourists but are very afraid of the virus they might bring with them.
It's being estimated in July if everything goes according to plan that business people will slowly start to travel for their work. Around September and October we will see another group/type of traveler that joins, maybe some tourists.
The good scenario talks about 30-50% returning, this is optimistic for around September. The WHO (World Health Organisation) is against closing the borders for a long time. They say there’s no reason now not to go to a country for health reasons if they are less infected than yours, now from a passenger point of view.
Recovery will be according to the length of the journey and also to places which are less crowded, first they will go to destinations which are close and then slowly further. Starting with less crowded destinations rather than busy cities.
The Northern Hemisphere of the globe is the one who leads the most serious pandemic now for example in Europe. The Southern Hemisphere with less of a problem could be more popular for example Asia.
Passengers will prefer to go to a place where they can be received correctly, be tested correctly and feel safe. Also to go to a place to have healthcare if needed, to be able to give this treatment will be important.
In these few weeks there are millions of unemployed people, many of them will not go back to work so fast and many businesses have collapsed so people have no salary. In this reality when will going abroad for a holiday become a common thing? People won’t be able to afford it...
After all this time staying home in their Country, people will look for the little money they have left because they will want to get space after this time of isolation and go with family abroad. Makro economic models showing that people compensate themselves after this kind of disaster. International tourism will come back slowly this year.
All flight companies will lower their labor costs, oil now is very cheap in the world and no one knows how it will be in future but for now one it’s at one of its lowest points. 50 Dollars a barrel.
Probably the prices will not go up soon. The air flight companies will probably sell tickets very cheap just to create some cash flow in the beginning. We see today already cheap flights from economy companies, you can still fly and make profit this is already proven.
In the near future the experience of flying abroad will be very different, starting with documents to bring, tests you have to pass, before and after, and the flight experience itself.
The plane will be disinfected, this will be part of the regulation between flights. Putting on a face mask during a flight could also be mandatory.
The main problem is the long flights where there is more danger of infection. The air supply/quality is much better on a plane than waiting in the terminal, the airplane is safer. So people should not worry about this.
Another issue is they will not take more than a specific amount of people on every airplane at least in the first phase. Some recommend to sit in the front chairs of an airplane as there is less chance of becoming infected than the back. If for example they make one empty chair and one empty row between passengers then it will be very hard to go back to normal as this will have a very big impact on flight costs.
Travel insurance will also change. One possibility is that it does not cover covid, it will be the same price, or another could be much much more expensive.
The questions when going to an airport will change. If you packed luggage by yourself will change, there will be more relevant questions like “who did you spend time with in the days before flying”. Other questions could be about symptoms and maybe they will check fever, maybe a bacteria test or asking for documents that prove that you’ve had the virus and now you are safe to travel. Maybe they will even build isolation or quarantine rooms for people not in this criteria.
There may be more tests and sterilisation in the airport terminal and on the plane. After September 11th no one believed we would have to go through such deep testing and checking when traveling, but it did happen and we got used to it so we will get used to new methods that will come.
When you go to fly asking symptoms and checking fever is not good enough, we know this because less than half who get the virus don’t have a fever. It’s like the people checking passports, they are not working for the airport but they work for the immigration office so for the virus it will be the same. They will bring special people from the health department to test these parameters.
There’s no doubt that the process to enter a Country will be longer, it might take some time to check in and out.
To make visas you will have to take a test, maybe they will develop some fast with saliva. On the other hand if there are too many tests when people fly it will be very hard to go back to normal, it will be complicated and people will not fly.
Air flight companies around the world have already lost loads of money, from the low cost to the big ones. Many new airplanes which have just been bought are already now on the ground before they have even brought 1% of their costs.
Hundreds of thousands of stewards, pilots, mechanics are unemployed now. Terminals just finished or launched to bring and send thousands of passengers every day are now empty.
The competition about the open sky is the one that makes tourism affordable to every pocket.
To survive we need two things, we need to finish alive and in a matter of companies for them not to collapse while this is happening. The ones who were smart and saved money have a better chance.
Secondly, is how cheap you can restart the whole system again. The low cost airlines have a bigger chance of survival as their profile level used to be quite high. Governments need to support airline companies so they can be there, in many Countries they have but not in all.
The competition will be very aggressive when it begins again.
Look again at your photo albums, Times Square in New York, Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Full Moon Party here on Koh Phangan, most of the experts are sure it will take a long time.
The optimists say 2 years, the pessimists say 3 years, before all flights are returned to 100% as it was and where terminals were busy in the same way like in the days where our lives were different to what they are now.