FAIR AND SQUARE: The prices of plane tickets will go up due to the coronavirus, only the rich will be able to afford a holiday by the sea
Air transport is experiencing a huge crisis due to the coronavirus. The number of flights worldwide has dropped by 80 percent and in Europe, the situation is even worse. It is already more than obvious that many airlines won't survive this year and Czech Airlines, which was founded almost 100 years ago, might also be in danger. Dramatic increase in ticket prices also seems to be inevitable.
It came like a bolt from the blue - within a few days, most flights in Europe were suspended due to the coronavirus, and the rest of the world quickly followed. The number of planes in the air fell by tens of percent, and for the first time in years, flight dispatchers felt what it was like to have a dry spell at work. Pilots and flight attendants are starting to worry about their jobs, airport workers are being laid off and the production of new aircrafts has virtually stopped.
But the most critical period is coming right now. Many airlines are financially bleeding and will struggle to survive. And if the states don't help them, they will soon go bankrupt. At this point, it's not yet certain when air traffic will be fully resumed, but it can be said with certainty that not all people will rush to hop on a plane. Not only because the gradual opening of the borders will take several more months, but also because they will not want to risk becoming infected with the coronavirus on the plane.
Czech Airlines in danger
Czech Airlines, which was founded in 1923 and is one of the oldest airlines in the world, is also experiencing financial trouble. The company is currently owned by the Smartwings group, whose main business relies on charter flights that take Czechs on holiday.
But this year the outlook for the holiday season is miserable. At the same time, the company has not yet recovered from the issues with Boeing 737 MAX aircrafts, which are not allowed to fly until further notice due to a ban. Under these circumstances, it is uncertain whether Czech Airlines will have enough money to stay in business. If the state doesn't "pour" money into the company and no investor with a few tens of millions to spare is found, it is possible that the airline will soon disappear for good.
Bankruptcies and rising ticket prices
At this point, we have little idea about what flying will look like in the coming months and years. But one thing is for sure: the bankruptcies and decline of interest in flying will make plane tickets significantly more expensive. In addition, the European Union is still pushing for strict legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, especially through higher taxation of aviation fuel and other charges. And that will mean more immense expenses for airlines.
It is therefore almost certain that the era of cheap travel is over. We can forget about weekend trips to European capitals for a few hundred or thousands of crowns. Holidays are also about to get more expensive and it's possible that plane tickets will make up the majority of the total price of the trip. An annual holiday by the sea will thus become a completely unachievable dream for many families with an average income it , as it will take them years to save up for a vacation.
How will flying change?
The very form of air travel and how it will change due to hygiene requirements also remains a question. Already, the first suggestions are emerging on how the seating arrangement could be changed to reduce the risk of infection, and some experts even claim that the number of passengers on board of a plane might initially be limited by half.
It is likely that from now on, passenger temperatures will be always be checked at airports and sick people won't be allowed to board at all. And it is almost certain that passengers will have to wear face masks or respirators at the airport as well as for the duration of the flight, and use disinfectant every couple of minutes. It is also possible that refreshments and other services at airports will be restricted, at least temporarily.
What flying will look like in the end depends mainly on how long the aircrafts will be grounded due to the coronavirus and how much money states will "pour" into the airlines. Alternatively, whether the EU decides to ease or at least postpone its requirements under green legislation. We'll know more in the summer.