COVID-19 – the most infectious disease of the 21st century! This tag deserves well. Nothing on the planet remains untouched or unaffected by its virulence. Travel is the worst affected industry and, of all its constituents, aviation has seen its worst time. Cheapfaremart analyzes and screens the impact – situations, challenges, hope, and development.
Capacity Comparison: Now Vs Same Weeks Last Year
Global capacity has now fallen to 26.6 million seats a week compared to some 109 million in the same week last year. The capacity has diminished to almost less than a quarter, which is a huge loss. The largest drop – some 1.8 million domestic seats – by the week concluding 4 May comes from the US market, a country that has been worst affected with the highest number of confirmed cases and deaths. In April alone, over 125,000 flights (equals 39% of all those scheduled).
Starting from January 20 till May 04, here is a % change week on week in the capacity across regions.
Southwest Airlines has cut around one million seats in the last week. The development has caused it to slip from its #Number 1 position in the global ranking by number of seats. Now, the spot has been claimed by China Eastern.
Positive Signs of Capacity Increase
Reclaiming the mark of 109 million seems a distant dream, but the month of May brings some hope. Many carriers have started adding capacity for the weeks of the 11th – 25th May as shown by the yellow line in the chart above. Nineteen million seats have been added – a near 70% increase in three weeks. The largest addition has happened to routes in North East Asia. Country markets such as Vietnam, Spain, Oman, France and Colombia have also contributed significantly.
Domestic Capacity Dominates the Total Capacity
The blue shade area represents domestic capacity while the other one international capacity. While both capacities have plummeted, the impact is more prominent on the international capacity. Domestic capacity continues to account for over 82% of all seats scheduled for operation this week.
Measures by the Industry to Ensure Safe Travel
To make flying safe and instil confidence in travelers airlines and airports are doing everything possible.
Hygiene is a prime concern of travelers, which airline and airport owners and regulators understand well, and they are leaving no stone unturned by disinfecting the areas or components that passengers will touch.
Introducing thermal screening, mobile Covid-19 testing units, and more measures airport authorities are trying to maintain entirely contact-less movement of passengers in the airport premise. Technology is playing a pivotal role in maintaining social distancing.
Some airlines are implementing on-board social distancing by keeping the middle seat empty. Aircrafts featuring shorter sector length like B737 and A320 that have a single-aisle are more in operations. Wide-bodied aircrafts like A380 went on a holiday mode with fewer operations.
Airports also have the obligations to ensure only healthy travelers board a flight.
Focus more on direct or nonstop flights