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If you have been wondering what flying in the post Coronavirus ‘new normal’ will look like, here is some insight. According to reports, the social distancing norms to be followed on flights will surge the ticket prices. By Manya Saini
The outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic has affected the operations of flights in India since the announcement of the lockdown
in March. Commercial airlines have not been allowed to function as per government directives. According to a study done by Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation India
(CAPA), if regulations of social distancing are adhered to on flights, passengers will be required to pay extra to compensate for empty seats.
The CAPA estimates that as this becomes the norm, the fares, especially on important and heavy-traffic routes, can even double. For instance, the Delhi-Mumbai ticket price, which was earlier at INR 5,000 can now cost a passenger booking well in advance as high as INR 9,700.
The implementation of strict sanitisation on airports and flights after resuming services are also expected to add pressure on the profitability of airlines as the turn-around time will rise. This is due to stringent in-flight cleaning and a slower boarding process to comply with social distancing directives.
The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security
has put forward a proposal according to which airlines, once the lockdown is lifted, must not book the middle seat. It has further said, the last three rows of a flight should remain vacant in case a passenger needs to be quarantined mid-journey.
The CAPA said it reached its probable hike estimates after taking into consideration these directives. Airlines operating a 180 seat narrow-body plane will be able to sell a maximum of 108 seats, which is only 60 per cent of its total load capacity.
Earlier, Delhi Airport had announced similar regulations which it plans on implementing to ensure the safety of the travellers. Other state governments have also expressed that they will implement social distancing on airports to contain the spread of the pandemic.
Related: Social Distancing In Planes May Cause A Major Spike In Airfares