Although billions around the world are staying home, some planes are still transporting travellers, mostly medical workers to COVID-19 hotspots. Many are wondering if flying is safe with coronavirus.
Is flying safe with coronavirus?
It would be irresponsible at the moment to be promoting non-essential travel.
However, some airlines are operating skeleton services to facilitate essential travel, gradually scaling up.
Most airlines have adapted their planes into cargos for carrying essential supplies.
Lufthansa Group, SWISS, Austrian Airlines, Qatar Airways, Wizz Air, Air France are just some of the air companies who have been transporting medical equipment.
In Tokyo, All Nippon Airways (ANA) is flying masks, hazmat suits and test kits on its passenger seats and in overhead compartments.
Since April, Delta Airlines has allowed medics to fly free of charge to hard-hit areas of the United States.
Deloitte is assisting in this effort by donating the company’s unused ticket balances to fund the travel. Moreover, the financial consultancy is also donating its unused ticket balances on Southwest Airlines to support medical professionals traveling to treat Covid-19 patients.
In Thailand, medical staff traveling on Bangkok Airways is eligible for a 20% discount off normal airfares.
Repatriation and the future
When international borders started locking down in March, airlines soon canceled flights to mitigate the spread of Covid-19. Millions of holidaymakers and business travelers found themselves trapped abroad.
Most repatriation flights took place in March and April and some are still going on.
At Qatar Airways the focus has been on maintaining flights to over 30 destinations, helping repatriate over one million people.
They are still looking how to enable mobility for their customers and provide them with seamless connectivity to their destination.
In New Zealand, Air New Zealand (ANZ) intends to operate around 20% of its usual domestic capacity.
Moreover, Air France has been adapting its schedules and network for repatriation.
They decided to maintain a minimum flight schedule in support of their customers urgently needing to travel.
Aviation looks ahead to an era when planes are carrying passengers again. The recovery of air travel depends on logistical and economic factors and the inclination of passengers to fly.
People need to be assured that flying is safe with the coronavirus crisis.
Airlines, airports, travel management companies, hoteliers, travel tech companies, trade associations and government need to work together in a collective and coordinated manner to get everyone out of this crisis responsibly.