Plane ticket prices are expected to increase by at least 50% following the economic crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to IATA (International Air Transport Association), the air travel fares will decline initially after the travel restrictions are lifted, as several airlines target to gain more customers. However, the association estimated an eventual rise in ticket prices by 49% in Europe and 54% in Asia due to capacity reduction to comply with social distancing. In a debate over the reopening of flights as well as maintaining the social distancing guidelines, the body that represents the global airlines (IATA) favors wearing masks by passengers on-board due to the threat of coronavirus transmission.
Airlines are currently focusing on ensuring the safety of passengers and restarting their services when there is an ease on travel restrictions. Some airlines are facing threats due to months without revenues and may be forced to go out of business. For instance, Virgin Atlantic reportedly stated that it would lay off 3,150 jobs as it targets to survive the crisis. Qantas Airways has also extended the suspension of 95% of domestic routes until June-end, while many of its international flights will be canceled until the end of July.
IATA stated that it was collaborating with the WHO, governments, the UN aviation agency, and ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) for developing several travel rules to be applied internationally. ICAO could reportedly mandate wearing of face masks and other measures to be followed during flights, in June. People with knowledge of the matter have stated that emptying the middle seat will also be among the necessary measures taken by governments after air travel resumption across the globe.
David Powell, IATA’s medical advisor, has stated that the process of emptying the middle seats will curb the spread of coronavirus on-board. The association will recommend face coverings, wearing face masks, and screening passengers, with limited movements and enhanced cleaning procedures in the cabin.