The coronavirus pandemic could kill large long-haul planes as the airline industry continues to be crippled by global foreclosure, an expert warned today.
Airlines are expected to choose to fly with fewer, smaller planes – the infection having accelerated the disappearance of the world’s largest passenger aircraft.
These are the relatively new Airbus A380 and the Boeing 747-400, the original jumbo jet – Lufthansa having already scrapped half of its versions of the two models.
Aviation consultant Andrew Charlton told The Guardian, “You will never see a 747 fly again, and the only A380s will have Emirates painted on the side. “
The German carrier anticipates that it will take several months for travel restrictions to be lifted completely and years before global demand returns to pre-crisis levels.
Airbus A380 aircraft each cost £ 350 million and 110 are in service. Meanwhile, the Boeing 747 arrives at around £ 190 million by air, with 356 in service.
Lufthansa has scrapped half of its relatively new Airbus A380 aircraft. One is pictured above at Frankfurt Airport on March 25, parked after being retired from service by the German airline
EasyJet said it plans to leave the average seats of planes empty in the short term to increase social distancing. One of his planes is pictured at Krakow Airport on March 15
The A380 and 737 were both among the first to be immobilized this year due to lower demand, as business class seats remained empty as companies turned to videoconferencing tools.
Airlines have immobilized their planes and taken away thousands of workers as countries close their borders and stations close their doors indefinitely.
Many predict that short-haul carriers may soon offer unbeatable prices to start generating revenue and driving down prices for competitors in the industry.
EasyJet said it plans to leave the average seats on planes empty in the short term to increase social distancing and give customers more confidence.
Its managing director, Johan Lundgren, said: “We will clearly seek to leave the middle seat empty at the start. I think that’s actually what customers would like to see. “
A Lufthansa Boeing 747-400 on the tarmac at Auckland Airport in New Zealand on March 27
But he said travel restrictions should be relaxed slowly and easyJet should be flexible, adding, “I don’t think it’s going to be a case of opening everything up. “
How coronavirus has affected UK airlines in the past month
Flybe: Europe’s largest regional airline collapsed on March 5 after months on the brink, causing 2,400 job losses and leaving around 15,000 passengers stranded in the UK and Europe. The owners of Flybe, a consortium including Virgin Atlantic, the Stobart group and hedge fund company Cyrus Capital, accused the coronavirus of precipitating the collapse of the sick airline. Flybe operated up to 50 routes in the UK, accounting for 40% of all domestic flights, and was used by 9.5 million passengers per year.
British Airways: The International Airlines group, which also includes Iberia and Aer Lingus, said on March 16 that there would be a 75% reduction in passenger capacity for two months, the boss Willie Walsh admitting that there was no guarantee that many European airlines would survive. “.
easyJet: The airline with 9,000 employees based in the United Kingdom, including 4,000 cabin crew members, immobilized its entire fleet of 344 aircraft on March 30. required.
Loganair: The Scottish regional airline said on March 30 that it intends to ask the government for a rescue plan to deal with the impact of the pandemic. Loganair will go to government despite the fact that finance minister Rishi Sunak told him last week that airlines should exhaust all other funding options before asking for help.
Jet2: The economic holiday airline suspended all flights departing from Great Britain until April 30. A number of Jet2 flights turned around last month during a trip to Spain when a blockade was announced in the country.
Virgin Atlantic: The airline said on March 16 that it would have cut its lights by 80% by March 26, and that figure will drop to 85% by April. He also urged the government to provide carriers with up to £ 7.5 billion in emergency credit facilities.
Ryanair: More than 90% of the Irish airline’s planes are now immobilized, with the rest of the plane on repatriation and rescue flights.
The head of Ryanair, the largest low-cost airline in Europe, dismissed forecasts of a slow recovery, saying he expected a rapid rebound in traffic fueled by “massive price dumping” in a race to win back the passengers.
Low-cost airlines have been criticized for their “shy response” to the crisis by offering coupons rather than refunds to customers on canceled flights in a desperate attempt to save money.
Mr. Charlton said: “Yes, passengers will travel with their vouchers in reserve … But people who are burned by this now will not book in advance in the future – it ruins confidence in the booking . “
The biggest airlines have also announced measures to boost the confidence of customers fearing they may be infected with tight spaces in the cabins, Emirates testing a rapid blood test, the results of which are available in 10 minutes, on all passengers a flight from Dubai to Tunisia this week.
Global traffic is now down 80% year on year, reversing recent forecasts that airline passenger numbers will double in 20 years.
The International Air Transport Association said passenger revenues would drop by around £ 250 billion or 55% in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Alexandre de Juniac, chief executive of the Canadian-based organization, added, “We do not expect to restart the same industry as the one we closed a few weeks ago. “
At the end of March, IATA, which represents 290 carriers, predicted that half of the world’s airlines would run out of cash within two to three months.
He urged governments to support the airlines by either nationalizing them, injecting new capital, waiving or delaying charges, including taxes, or providing loan guarantees.
EasyJet said it could survive a nine-month outage due to its measures to deal with the coronavirus crisis and plans a slow recovery.
The company will begin to reduce its fleet and the number of aircraft it will operate will not reach pre-crisis levels until 2022, signaling that it does not expect a rapid recovery for the industry.
“We have been able to adapt to reduced demand over the next two years, and then have the opportunity to increase as demand picks up,” said Lundgren.
Will air travel cost more?
According to an analysis by the US-based Dollar Flight Club, we can expect prices for airline tickets to drop in the short term, before prices increase significantly by 2025.
Until 2021, the flight service saw an average price drop of 35%, with airlines desperately trying to attract customers again.
But over the next four years, prices would then rise more than a quarter above pre-crisis levels, with demand outstripping supply significantly reduced.
The data indicates more severe declines and subsequent price increases than those recorded during the September 11 or financial crash.
“Passengers in smaller or short-haul markets can expect significant reductions in scheduled air services as airlines downsize,” said the report.
“It will make these trips much more expensive and more difficult to transport. In these markets, we can expect significant growth in train and bus travel. “
The club found that over the next year, customers could get a round trip from Los Angeles to London for $ 329, or a round trip from New York to Amsterdam for $ 278.