Border closures, luxury hotel quarantine and cancellations abound as the coronavirus pandemic slowly took over the world.
People are already itching to get onto a plane to make up for lost time and lost adventures, so Neos Kosmos asked three travel industry professionals the following question: What will travel look like after COVID-19 settles?
Captain George Kailis – Pilot
Airlines all over the world are either failing or suffering financial stress as a result of Covid-19 and have been laying off pilots in unprecedented numbers.
When a vaccine or treatment is available and widespread travel once again becomes a reality, there is likely to be a supply void caused by a lack of certified pilots ready to resume flying duties.
This choke point will arise because of very particular training requirements.
Pilots require ongoing training (recency) and regular flying to comply with rules set by governing bodies like the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.
Once a pilot’s recency has lapsed, it may take up to six months for them to undergo an extensive revalidation.
This process would require simulator training and an instrument rating renewal (licence test), training in the specific aircraft and then again with a Check and Training Captain who is approved to revalidate the candidate, along with a number of ground technical courses.
When borders are reopened, demand for air travel will resume and outstrip supply because the industry will be left with a limited number of airlines.
Unfortunately, it is likely that plenty of aircraft will be sitting idle in the deserts with few validated pilots ready to fly them.
Evie Caras – Travel Agent
As we all know the travel industry has been greatly impacted by Covid-19.
Pilots, aircrew and airport staff have either been stood down, or have been made to take leave until further notice. With the impact of Covid-19 my belief is that airfares for International travel will not be cheap as what people were used to paying. International Air travel will become more expensive. Domestic travel will begin with cheap airfares to build up consumer/traveller confidence.
People whom are considering to travel should always take out travel insurance. Many people believe that by paying with their credit card that their financial institutions travel insurance will cover them. But these policies are very limited in comparison to Travel Insurance policies sold via travel agencies.
Emirates will be conducting medical screening to all passengers before boarding the aircraft, thus to ensure that all travellers are healthy and safe to travel to their holiday destination or back home. This being said, I believe that all major airlines will follow suit with conducting medical test prior to boarding.
Nik Loukas – InFlight Feed Blog
It’s difficult to imagine what travel will be like once restrictions are lifted, and airlines start to fly again. Could cheap airfares help to stimulate the market? That may indeed be the case as Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce stated yesterday that the airline is willing to offer $19 and $39 airfares on Jetstar between Melbourne and Sydney.
How will the experience be at the airport, though? Will we be required to wear face masks? In the US and Europe, it’s now mandatory to wear face masks on several airlines. Will we have our temperature taken on departure and arrival at our destination? What new processes and checks will we need to complete before and during our travels? These are difficult questions to answer, but we should expect that the travel experience may not ever be the same again for a while.
On the plus side, once arriving at our destination, we will probably notice that the once busy streets and beaches will be significantly quieter.
Rather than jetting off internationally for a cheap package holiday, it would be great to see the domestic tourism sector offer packages similar in price to those offered in say Indonesia or Thailand. However, I feel this is wishful thinking.