Social distancing likely to make air travel costlier
Post-lockdown, the airlines will be operating with only one-third occupancy, to ensure that appropriate social distancing is maintained between onboard passengers
Amid travel ban and lockdown, airline companies have started to make arrangements for post-lockdown operations, keeping in mind certain precautionary measures. With social distancing being the new norm of Coronavirus pandemic, the airline companies, are also ensuring to adopt this practice, especially in terms of seating of the passengers.
According to reports, post-lockdown, the airlines will be operating with only one-third occupancy, to ensure that appropriate social distancing is maintained between onboard passengers. However, the social distancing measure could lead to an escalation of airfares up to three times as compared to the standard tickets costs.
With social distancing in place, the seating capacity of a 180-seater single-aisle (six seats across 30 rows) will therefore be reduced by two-thirds i.e to 60 (which means only two persons on each row of six seats across 30 rows). According to officials, the compensation for the loss of capacity can only be tackled by raising the fares by anywhere between 1.5 to 3 times.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is preparing a flight resumption plan that will be implemented once the government allows schedule passenger movement post lockdown. The regulator is likely to seek a 1.5-metre distancing between passengers at airports, by marking points everywhere- right from the entry gate to the check-in counter, security check, immigration (for international) counters and boarding gates.