Experts call the coronavirus pandemic the “new terrorism”, causing the biggest crisis the aviation industry has ever faced. To deal with it, all airports around the world will need to develop strategies to ensure safe travel. For sure there are going to be changes.
The airport check-in process can take up to 4 hours. And why? During these hours, a socially remote inspection, sanitary cleaning of passengers and their luggage and many other things are carried out. The time intervals between flights are also likely to be longer, due to the need for thorough cleaning of aircraft cabins and increased anti-epidemic measures at airports. Experts expect these measures to be extremely tight, especially for low-cost flights, where airlines do not always maintain perfect hygiene, but rather remove only the most visible contaminants and less often do a thorough cleaning of the aircraft.
What is going to change?
There are many steps that are being considered by experts. It is possible to ban the carrying of hand luggage in the passenger cabin of the aircraft, as well as any other personal devices for comfortable travel – inflatable pillows and blankets. It will be mandatory to wear face masks as well as gloves. The registration will be done independently, the transfer of the fire through the lanes – too.
Another measure that is being talked about is the health passports of people who have already had the infection and blood tests on the spot, even if there is the slightest suspicion of the presence of Covid-19. New technologies will also play an important role in the development of future air transport. A face-to-face scan of passengers will be introduced before boarding, instead of a physical check by an authorized employee, and a number of airlines such as British Airways and EasyJet have already taken this step.
According to the World Tourism and Travel Council, everything new will normally include the almost mandatory use of online registrations and contactless payments, as well as the establishment of separate “disinfection sites” through which passengers must pass before reaching the common areas and passenger traffic there. Continuous thermal scanning should become a practice at all airports – both small and large.
Simply Flying recently published a report identifying more than 70 different aspects of passenger travel that are expected to be transformed. One of them is the introduction of electrostatic or UV disinfection for passengers and their belongings. According to The Telegraph, UV cleaning is likely to become commonplace at airports around the world, and London’s Heathrow Airport said it will try this type of disinfection in the coming weeks.
However, there are still no definite decisions on how the integrity of air transport will be restored from now on. The new protocols and standards are set after feedback from associations representing the various travel sectors, including the International Air Transport Association, the International Airport Council Association, the International Cruise Lines Association, the US Travel Association, the Asia Pacific Travel Association, The International Civil Aviation Organization, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the European Travel Commission and the World Tourism Organization.
But whatever measures are taken, the future of air travel, according to a New York Times article, is still bleak: “There is no widely available vaccine available. It could be months, if not years, before airlines start operating as many flights as before the pandemic. Even when people start flying again, the transformation in the industry can be as great as it was after 9/11.