Once airports and borders reopen, the UAE will be ready to operate with appropriate measures to ensure healthy air travel. Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports confirmed that to support the reopening of scheduled traffic, the speed and timing of flight control recovery will primarily depend on the development of a treatment or vaccination for COVID-19.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is of a very different nature than any previous crisis in that it has affected supply, demand and health security and by extension the entire global economy,” admits Griffiths. “We’re dealing with a monster here for which we clearly have to find a solution. Until there is a proven level of confidence medically that people can travel without fear of spreading or contracting the virus, the situation we find ourselves in is likely to continue.”Griffiths confirmed that Dubai Airports will ensure to keep a safe and healthy airport environment by following the social distancing order, assuring robust-deep cleaning and sanitisation to support customer’s concerns on air travel when scheduled services resume.
According to nine out of 10 experts, airports will expect slower turnarounds between flights owing to the need of sanitary measures. Future air travel may include four-hour process, greater disinfection, self-check-in, and immunity passes.
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) informed that the new normal at major airports will mostly include exclusive use of online check-ins and contactless payments. Additionally, the need to reduce touchpoints at airports implies obligatory use of biometric boarding that permits passengers boarding a plane to use their face as a passport.
When it comes to boarding, airlines are considering to stop offering food on short haul flights but are thinking of serving light refreshments for long-haul flights.
On arrival, airline marketing strategy firm SimpliFlying predicts international passengers will be required to show some sort of immunity document/passport supported by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to border controlling agents. Once a vaccine against the COVID-19 has been found, it could shift to a “proof of vaccination.”
Flights are likely to return first to internal markets with staycations, next to a country’s closest neighbours before expanding throughout regions, and then eventually across continent to welcome international destinations.
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