Airlines are currently struggling as the coronavirus continues to have a huge impact on the travel industry. Many have been forced to ask for bailouts from the Government while others have furloughed staff to help keep costs down. But experts are now saying that when the airlines do re-start their operations flight tickets could rocket.
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The main reason that tickets will cost considerably more is because the airlines themselves will face higher costs.
Director general and chief executive of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has warned that governments around the world will impose new rules on airlines after coronavirus.
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Alexandre de Juniac explained that when the aviation industry begins to scale up, health authorities and certain governments will introduce these new rules to help stop the spread of the coronavirus in the future.
Mr De Juniac explained that the airline industries are facing two new concepts which are likely to impact on them financially.
One of the concepts is called “de-densification” which describes the airlines having to reduce passenger numbers to maintain safe social distancing measures on an aircraft.
The other concept is “neutralisation” which is when certain seats on flights have to remain empty.
The IATA Chief described these latest moves as a shift in most airlines’ business models.
He told The Independent: “De-densification, if it is requested by the civil aviation and the health authority, will be by neutralising one seat in each row among the two rows of seats of short-haul aircraft.”
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”That is a complete shift of the business model of airlines operating short-haul aircraft.”
To put this into perspective, a Ryanair flight which normally holds 189 passengers, would only allow 126 on board.
The middle seats on the plane would remain empty to make sure that people remain distanced from one another.
If these concepts are put in place and passenger numbers drop by a third, then fares are also expected to rise by 50 percent.
The cost of the air fares would be dependant on supply and demand.
US airline carrier Alaska Airlines has already decided to implement its own social-distancing strategy by emptying middle seats on large planes and aisle seats on smaller planes.
“If you’re uncomfortable with the distance between you and others on your day of flight, we’ll rebook you on another flight or provide a refund,” according to the airline.
Civil Aviation Authority guidelines also have rules in place for the safety of passengers.
Toilets have to be cleaned after every tenth use and airlines cannot sell the last three rows of sears on international flights in case of an inflight emergency.
The guidelines add: “The rear lavatory on the right side should be designated for the exclusive use by those under quarantine.”
One flight attendant has to look after one person who is showing signs of illness, including COVID-19.
The guidelines then suggest that the attendant “should refrain from close contact with other crew members”.
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