Thursday, May 07, 2020

COVID-19 Impacts - Airlines Sector

Airline Seating Arrangement

It wouldn't be wrong to say, that, one of the worst impacted industries, due to the COVID-19 would be Travel Industry. In a time, when even going out for essential services and day-to-day work, sounds risky, I can't even imagine taking a flight or public transport.

Keeping a timeframe of 2-3 months, and if there is a reduction in the number of cases or the spread, we might be able to see the Hotels opening up slowly. Not due to choice off course, but more for survival.  But every time I think of the airlines, the reasons for taking flights seem to be very very less. It will be only, as the last option or the last resort that one will take when taking flights. 

Reading the latest news in the Hospitality Sector, it's becoming clear that the industry will no longer be the same.  In India, all the Airline companies have been asked to reconfigure the sitting arrangement in the air crafts. Which will mean, that more space will need to be kept between seats? In all possibilities, the economy class sitting arrangement will look more like Business Class.  

A few years back when the airline's industry started booming, step by step, even without we knowing, the seats had become cramped. For a person like me, who needs a lot of legroom due to my height, it was getting difficult, from the early days in 2000-2001, when the legroom in Air India/Indian Airlines and Jet Airways was really spacious. With time and the need to add every extra seat that can be accommodated in the aircraft, every inch of space was used up. Then to top it all, they started charging extra for seats which had slightly extra legroom.  Life does come in a full circle. 

Now, if there are fewer seats in an aircraft, it's obvious that the cost per ticket will be more. But, if I compare the prices of the tickets during the 2000-2001 era, a Goa-Bangalore flight would cost 5000/-  but with time, they have got substantially less(For the low-cost carriers). 

We will for sure, see a huge change, in the way the Airlines Industry works now. In the past few years, we could actually see that the Pilots and the Cabin Crew have been pushed to the limits to reduce the operating costs and increasing the profit. Due to which we would see a higher percentage of so-called 'near misses' as compared to the earlier decade. All, thanks to the huge increase in consumer traffic.  Profits are important, but there was a pressing need to take things a little bit slow. 

Things have got reset, all thanks to this Virus, but should have ideally happened by our will, rather than greed and consumerism.  Hope things change for the better and everyone gets to enjoy life a little better than what it was, and more importantly, the Earth gets time to breathe.