Airlines and airports prepare for take off
Not long ago the world was our oyster, international travel was something many of us had become accustomed to. It had become easier than ever to board a plane and head to another country for a vacation, year abroad, or emigrate and experience a change of scenery. No matter how large the ocean between families was, with the help of airlines, this distance was really nothing more than a nap, some good movies and a glass of wine or two.
With many countries and industries relying on tourism, they felt the pinch. Taxis are an example of an industry that rely on tourism and business people to enter and leave their cities. Airport ranks were drastically decreasing – no excited tourists were jumping into cabs looking forward to their holiday. Business travelers were no longer being rushed from terminal to inner city office buildings. How quickly things have changed and how we miss the joy of travelling.
Unfortunately with the current health situation the airline industry was hit hard, flights were being grounded and borders were being closed. No one was leaving on that jet plane anytime soon!
Flightrader24 has provided some numbers and in April 2019 there were over 111,000 commercial flights per day that took off. April 2020 was not as exciting with just over 29,000 taking off worldwide. However, halfway May 2020, the number of commercial flight were 1.7% higher than the previous month.
Thus, it is not all doom and gloom. In May more and more airports and airlines are figuring out how they can start up and get passengers back in the air.
- Germany’s Frankfurt Airport and Munich Airport have prepared for flights and passengers to return. Their safety measures are in place and they have made sure to protect passengers and employees throughout the airport. These measures include:
- Social distancing, one and a half meters between passengers at check in counters, boarding pass and security checkpoints and at baggage claims.
- In waiting areas, every other seat may be used
- Plexiglass shields where employee and passenger interactions occur
- Hand disinfectant dispensers are located around the terminal, with surfaces also being regularly cleaned
- Posters, digital displays and PA announcements in multiple languages remind passengers of these rules. If these don’t work, trained agents circulating the terminals remind passengers if they forget.
Hong Kong Airport has introduced the compulsory use of face masks for passengers departing and returning to Hong Kong. They have also implemented body temperature screens at the entrances of all terminal buildings.
Italy’s Leonardo Da Vinci International Airport has become the first European airport to introduce a new method of checking passengers temperatures. This will now be done through the use of a “Smart Helmet”, very Robocop looking, but if it does the job then it’s all good.
The Irish budget airline, Ryanair, is ready to reinstate 90% of its network from the 1st July, subject to government restrictions. Ryanair will urge it’s passengers to use mobile-based boarding devices, fewer checked bags, undergo temperature checks and use face masks while onboard the aircraft. EasyJet also wants to reopen on 1 July again and said half of its network would be reopened by the end of July, increasing to 75% during August.
Qatar has announced that it will resume its international flights to Brisbane, Australia from the 20 May. The airline will operate three flights per week between Doha and Brisbane, for both commercial passengers and cargo.
Although many airports and airlines worldwide are still grounded, the above mentioned give a glimmer of hope to passengers ready to catch their next flight. The road ahead is long but with everyone protecting themselves and listening to authorities, we will come out stronger than before.