According to the global airline industry, it will need up to $200bn in emergency support. Boeing has also called for $60bn in assistance for aerospace manufacturers as the international travel industry is in crisis along with the rest of the world due to Coronavirus.
The International Air Transport Association, the airlines’ main trade body, on Tuesday said the majority of carriers face running out of money within two months because of the sudden halt in international flights by governments attempting to contain the coronavirus outbreak. In the UK, the Foreign Office on Tuesday advised the public against all non-essential travel globally for the next 30 days.
Airports around the world are now looking like car parks, but for grounded planes and the last time these many aircraft were at a standstill was after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Today’s near-shutdown of commercial aviation caused by the Coronavirus is worse. It is likely to last much longer than the one-two decades ago and poses more of an existential threat to airlines.
So, as the pandemic of Coronavirus sweeps the globe, it makes you think about what is going to happen in the future and how it will change our lives. One thing that’s for sure is the way we travel will undoubtedly look different in the future.
In recent years traveling by plane became a regular occurrence, something we have been entitled to and something we could even do last minute and for very cheap (at times). We could choose to go to the Galapagos Islands, to Antartica or do a short journey from London to Edinburgh. Then in just recent weeks, everything has changed. Large scale events have been canceled, Twitter ordered all its staff to work from home, the new, unfortunately, titled James Bond film No Time to Die has been delayed until November and even Disney World has had to shut its doors.
We have already seen changes to travel recently, in Europe, a sizeable chunk of consumers has stopped flying out of climate guilt. Huge international sports tournaments have already started to be disrupted by extreme weather, and there’s no doubt that more will follow. When a crisis like this happens, people often begin to reflect. They also start to think more resourcefully and look at other options. It’s highly likely that Coronavirus may make us reconsider how many journeys — holidays, work trips, conferences — are actually essential. The threat of terrorism didn’t stop us from flying. Since September 11, the number of US air passengers has risen by one-third; global numbers have more than doubled. But Coronavirus may have more of an impact, and with the technology, we have now and the ease of video conferencing, business travel doesn’t seem so necessary anymore.
When it comes to holidays and gap years, perhaps people will consider going closer to home. What many are worried about is getting stuck somewhere and unable to get back home. While Coronavirus has not been caused by climate change, it does show us what kind of disruption we might face in the future because of climate change. Will we stop flying so much? How much of life can now be conducted digitally? If we can accept the restraints we will face now, then perhaps we can accept them in the future too, and it might be time to look at alternative ways of traveling or having holidays.