The borders between neighbouring countries are gradually opening up again. Smaller countries with similar infection rates and close relationships are more likely to open. Overseas destinations will not open soon and travellers will still be limited to travel to / from infection hotspots. Business trips will start earlier than leisure. (source: Viselio)
Main airport CEO’s around the world don’t expect airports to return to their old levels of flight movements until 2023. And when the number of flights and passengers grows again, it is likely to grow slowly and step by step.
Market is getting smaller
Compared to "business-as-usual", total passenger numbers could fall by as much as 1.2 billion travellers in September 2020, according to the latest International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) forecasts. Estimates also show that international capacity could drop as much as two-thirds from what was forecast for the first three quarters of this year, which would cause airline revenues for the period January to September to be a $ 160-253 billion drop. Europe and Asia-Pacific will be most affected by the impact on capacity and revenues, followed by North America. Likewise, passenger numbers are expected to decline most sharply in Europe, especially during the peak summer season, followed by Asia-Pacific. (source: ICAO)
Several airlines have filed for bankruptcy, these are airlines with less cash, such as South African Airways and Norwegian's subsidiaries. This means that there will soon be fewer players. This has consequences for market forces. Less competition, fewer flight options.
Fewer flight options
Due to the restrictions per country, there are far fewer flight options during the corona crisis and if we look at current developments, we can cautiously say that the number of flight options is not yet going to be at pre-crisis levels. In fact, because of airline bankruptcy, reduced airline operations and border restrictions, it is expected that this will not return to the level before the crisis in the coming years. A very useful source of information is provided by Airlineroute. They provide daily updates about breaking route announcements, changes in schedule, aircraft and codeshare agreements.
Ticket prices will rise
Another consequence of the new measures and fewer players on the market will be reflected in the ticket prices later. Concrete statements cannot be made about this yet, but realistic expectations are that they will indeed go up.
Due to the corona crisis, the environmental impact of aviation is being looked at even more critically. Sustainability has therefore become even more important because of this crisis.
Some airports have launched a trial with sustainable taxiing. A special tow vehicle tows the aircraft to and from the runway. For example, 50 to 85 percent fuel can be saved during the taxi process. (Source: Aviation News)
Flying on biofuel is another alternative to electric flying, although the latter is more complicated in terms of safety. It takes much longer for an electric aircraft to take off.
Travelling during COVID-19
What are the changes?
Travelling during COVID-19
Flying during COVID-19, how the new standard is handled differs per country or region. But the fact that flying will look different is a fact. Various measures have already been identified and these will be further expanded by country, airport and airline in the future as more flights take-off again.
Longer check-in times
Due to the new measures, whatever the country, more time will be required for passenger check-in.
COVID-19 test certificate
Emirates says it is the first airline to test travellers on the spot for COVID-19. This happens for flights to Tunis and the airline is now looking in collaboration with the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) for possibilities to extend this to other flights. These tests are intended to enable the carriage of passengers to countries that have a requirement for a COVID-19 test certificate.
Measures for health declaration or temperature
Other proposed measures include completing a health declaration by passengers and in some cases also measuring their body temperature. Many airports have indicated that they will screen travellers for ‘fit-to-fly’. Air France indicates that they will test their travellers for temperature, at 38 degrees and higher you are not allowed to fly with Air France. (source: aviation news)
Several countries and airlines require a face mask when traveling. Air travellers in, from or to Canada are required to wear a non-medical mask or other face covering to cover their mouth and nose as of April 20. If they cannot demonstrate their availability during the boarding process, they may not continue their journey. This also applies to passengers in Germany. Passengers of Emirates airlines must wear their own face masks at the airport and on board, and are required to follow social distancing measures. Passengers on all KLM flights are required to wear face masks to prevent the spread of corona. This way, KLM thinks it can circumvent social distancing. Air France takes the same measure. United Airlines and American Airlines also require masks. (source: Business trip)
Even in busy situations at airports, where it is not possible to keep sufficient distance, mouth masks will have to be worn. In Asia, almost all air passengers wear face masks, even if this is not mandatory. Governments and health authorities worldwide differ widely on their opinion about the usefulness of mouth masks. (Source: Business Travel News)
Food and drinks are served, but packaging and presentation have been adjusted to minimize contact and interaction between cabin crew and passengers. Philippine Airlines enlisted the help of a local fashion designer to stylishly protect crew members from the corona virus. The Filipino designer Edwin Tate recently designed a special uniform.
The social distancing protocol
The formalities around check-in and boarding will be adjusted with a view to social distancing. For example, walls will be placed between the check-in desks. Airport personnel are required to use gloves, face masks and disinfectant gels. The American aircraft seat manufacturer HAECO Cabin Solutions has a solution for airlines to continue flying profitably in their one and a half meter economy: use cargo in the cabin to keep travellers separated. (source: Business Travel News)
Glass Safe method
The aviation sector is focussed on making flying as safe as possible. An Italian manufacturer of airplane seats has already taken a first step with an innovative concept. A first proposal - the "Glass Safe method" - can be applied immediately to existing aircraft seats, so that the additional cost for the airlines is manageable. In this way, each side chair is equipped with plexiglass. A more drastic application is the "Janus seat", in which the middle chair is turned over and the chairs are given plexiglass on three sides. (source: HNL.be)
Air filtering (HEPA filter) in aircraft
Keeping a distance on board would be unnecessary. According to A4E, the atmosphere in airplanes is similar to that in an operating room because the cabin air is completely cleaned every three minutes in the latest generation of aircraft. The air conditioning system is also equipped with so-called HEPA filters that would filter out 99.99 percent of all microbes, including a virus such as COVID-19. This is echoed by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs: "risks of spreading the virus in the cabin are limited by good ventilation and air filtration systems in aircraft and the dry air on board." (source: Het Parool)
Quarantine on arrival
In the British aviation sector there was huge controversy over a government measure requiring passengers entering Great Britain to be quarantined for two weeks. According to the companies, that will dampen the urge to travel to zero. A final decision has yet to be taken. Also Spain and some other markets have issued guidelines for quarantine on arrival, and while the situation develops there is an expectation that the number will increase.
It is still unclear how multiple airlines will handle baggage. Emirates has stated that passengers will not be allowed to take hand luggage on board for the time being. Only laptops, handbags, briefcases and baby items are welcome in the cabin.
The rebooking policy differs per airline. In many cases, when an airline cancels the flight, vouchers are issued to the individual for future use.
Before you travel, check the current restrictions per:
- Country (via the local market Ministry of Foreign Affairs website)
- Hotel / Accommodation
Hotel experts predict that the pandemic will drastically change hotel stays in the coming months, with many properties embracing new practices, including temperature checks upon guest arrival. In these changes, the hotel industry (like the aviation industry) depends on the measures taken by local authorities. There are major differences within the EU, with social distancing measures varying for example from 1.5 meters, to 1.8 or 2 meters.
Protocols are being developed, in which all options are considered. It may be the case that check-ins and check-outs are performed virtually, without human-to-human contact. Lift rides will be limited to one guest at a time. Room service may have been discontinued and the hotel's restaurant, bar and free coffee station may be closed indefinitely. Hotel's possible new dining options: boxed ready meals, available in an industrial refrigerator in the lobby.
Guidelines according to WHO / NHO
Hotels take maximum precautions, applying the recommendations of the World Health Organization or National Health Organisations and health experts. Staff are briefed with specific guidelines and extensive cleaning and hygiene measures have been taken in hotels, with the aim of providing safe and clean environments for guests and employees.
Virus-free hotel certificate
The hotel industry wants to work with an international certification, so that guests know that a hotel meets the necessary hygienic precautions.
Whether it is an (international) business meeting, a product launch, the opening of a new company building or a staff party, the new challenges around COVID-19 requires new solutions around corporate events. This can for example mean a maximum capacity determination, taking into account the layout of the location or room. Guests will book in advance (online), whether or not for a specific period with a pre-defined start and end time. With a modular program organisers can limit the number of guests to the maximum allowed amount per m2 and clearly point out to them that they can only access the event in the specified timeslot.
On-site, there is the option to control the behaviour of groups of people with smart solutions regarding room design and predefined routing. Signing and markings provide visitors with information about walking routes, seating and the order of entering and leaving halls. This includes markings on the floor, stickers on walls and windows, banners along pedestrian routes and announcements via digital means of communication. And by means of personal guidance, guests can be informed in case of a queue to keep sufficient distance.
If groups are of such a size that it becomes too complex to bring them together at a time, the use of different formats running alongside each other can be a consideration. For example in the form of a hybrid event: a mix of live and digital: an international business meeting in Sweden, where guests from Europe fly in and invitees from other parts of the world can follow the event online. Such a solution requires even more customization. In general, the time span of an online session is shorter than when being physically present.
Business interest versus
As soon as business travel starts up again, companies must carefully weigh up their economic interests and the risks to their employees.
Correct facts and figures
As a travel manager, you need to have the correct facts and figures in order to be able to make a sound risk assessment to decide whether business travellers can get back on the road. The right sources for this are:
Worldwide situation via WHO
Travel advice per country
Travel restrictions by country
Check the airline policy
Consult your TMC
How do you prepare your business travellers and what instructions do you give them? When do you take action? What do you do when people get sick abroad? These are all
things that you must have worked out in advance and your TMC can help with this.
Company Confidence x Traveller Confidence x Government Permission = Permissible Travel
How do you prepare the company and employees for the "new world", in which travelling is no longer as obvious as before? We have listed a number of tips and issues for you as "food for thought":
- Get agreement with management about "permissible travel"
- Your travel policy during COVID-19 - who is allowed to travel and for what purposes? This must be clearly documented to avoid discussion.
- Discuss the new policy with your TMC and also discuss how the control of the adjusted travel policy will be carried out
- What will be the agreements within the organisation to determine whether someone is "fit-to-travel"?
- How should privacy of employees' health be handled?
- Talk to the frequent travellers: what are their concerns, what needs to be done to address these concerns?
- How do you prepare the travellers who are going to travel again and what instructions do you give them?
- How do you ensure that you always know where the travellers are and how do you keep in touch with them? What do you do when people get sick during their trip?
- Always ensure that you have the correct information to be able to properly inform travellers about the destination and the new rules and restrictions that apply there.
(source: Festive Road)
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