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    The Future Of Air Travel Post COVID-19

    The Future Of Air Travel Post COVID-19: Air travel’s return will be closely watched

    Mandatory face masks at all times, assessments in interview booths if you show Covid-19 symptoms and no goodbyes inside the terminal. Welcome to the unglamorous future of air travel.

    These were the guidelines issued by the EU’s air safety body last week for travel through airports.

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    The 28-page document is full of instructions that would have sounded outrageous in January: stand 1.5 metres from fellow passengers at check-in, boarding and passport control; no food and drink service on board; immediate midair isolation of passengers who develop a fever or cough on a flight.

    But several months into the worst pandemic in a century, the majority of the document seems proportionate.

    The guidelines from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency are a warning to other industries and to consumers who interact with them: this is the new normal.

    Not only will businesses have to adapt to the requirements of beating a highly infectious disease, but so will people who work in them and buy goods from them, whether it is going to the gym (limited class attendance, restricted access to machines), attending the pub (under the watchful eye of social distancing marshalls, if it’s a Wetherspoons) or buying a dress in a shop (without trying it on).

    The danger for the global economy is that consumers balk at the changes and bin the gym membership, drink at home and shop online. If prospective holidaymakers, weekend tourists and business travelers decline to travel by air, the aviation industry’s financial crisis will worsen and a shift in transport patterns and the holiday industry could become permanent.

    So aviation will be a test of consumer appetite for disruption and discomfort that will send a signal to other sectors shut down by the virus. When Ryanair and easyJet resume flights next month, businesses should watch closely.

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