AIR TRAVEL is currently on hold around the world for many, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t thinking about their next big adventure. New data suggests Britons are planning on flying “more than ever” despite the pandemic, but will they be safe to do so?
Airlines and holiday operators around the world have been forced to put an abrupt stop to any impending holiday plans, with many Britons now realising their hopes of a summer holiday could be dashed. However, new data suggests that even amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Britons are gearing up for air travel in the future, more so than ever before.
New data from Skyscanner shows that more than a quarter of the nation remain confident in air travel, saying they will travel “more than ever”.
Meanwhile, 75 percent of Britons are missing the freedom of life before the pandemic took a hole, saying they are “now more appreciative of being able to travel freely”.
Though travel may have been one of the main catalysts of the virus spreading so rampantly, holidays and world exploration remain a priority once the government say it is okay to do so once again.
Even in lockdown, plans for future holidays havent been too far from peoples minds.
Skyscanners experts found that “bucket list” travel has climbed to the top of the agenda, with 75 percent more likely to finally turn trips to dream destinations into a reality after lockdown, and 64 percent saying they will “make better use of their time for travel”.
A further 29 percent say that the experience has made them consider being “more adventurous in the way they travel”, hoping to explore more destinations and cultures.
Despite financial concerns, 12 percent anticipate spending even more money than usual.
Of course, the current pandemic has swayed the confidence of some.
Around 25 percent of Britons will now approach travel more cautiously, and 23 percent say domestic travel will take precedence.
Unsurprisingly, safety is a major concern for many people, and fears surrounding this could have a detrimental impact on tourism.
The COVID-19 pandemic could result in a decline of between 60 and 80 percent in international tourist arrivals according to The World Tourism Organisation.
In the UK alone, there has been a 54 percent drop in overseas visits to the UK and a 55 percent fall in spending to £11.6billion according to a forecast by VisitBritain.
However, airlines and travel providers are working hard to test and instigate health and hygiene measures which would ensure passengers and crew would be safe when travelling.
Wizz Air, which has already resumed some commercial flights from the UK, has implemented a number of new rules.
Passengers are now expected to wear face masks for the duration of their journey.
Crew will also wear masks, as well as gloves.
Passengers will be handed disinfectant wipes to clean their immediate area, and social distancing will be encourages with all onboard payments to be made contactless where possible.
Owain Jones, Managing Director of Wizz Air UK said: “The protective measures that we are implementing will ensure the most sanitary conditions possible.
“We encourage our customers to watch our new video on how to stay safe when travelling, as well as for more details on our new health and safety measures.”
Similarly, Ryanair has unveiled plans for passengers to wear face masks when flying.
Speaking on BBC News, Ryanair boss Michael OLeary explained: “While we expect to be back flying some services in July and August, we think that the build-up will be slow, passengers will be wearing face masks, temperature checks at airports, there will be those kinds of controls.”
Heathrow Airport is now trialling new methods of testing passengers entering and leaving the UK – something which could become the norm in the future if it is proven to have any success.
The new technology under review includes ultraviolet sanitation, facial recognition with thermostat reading technology and contactless security procedures. The temperature checks will reportedly take place at the airports immigration halls, according to Heathrows chief executive John Holland-Kaye.
With all of these measures in place, some travel insiders are positive about the future of the industry.
Ant Clarke Cowell, a travel expert at Holiday Extras, said: “Following our regular market research, its clear that holidaymakers are keen to get back to travelling with 75 percent of Brits revealing that they expect to take a holiday at some point this year,” he said.
“Were closely monitoring announcements throughout the world as part of our ongoing analysis and weve already seen a number of sensible precautionary measures suggested by airlines and governments that could mean package holidays that include flights, secure resort accommodation and transit from the airport resume fairly quickly.”
Given the unprecedented nature of the pandemic, the future remains uncertain, but the steps airports and airlines are currently trialling are a good indication that passenger and staff safety will be a priority moving forward.