By Muna Al-Fuzai
Traveling via airports now seems like a dream, because no one can set a precise date of when all airports can and will be back to normal as before the coronavirus outbreak. I am wondering how this virus will change aviation protocol and future travel. These days, most airports are shut down except for cargo and emergency flights.
Most reports about well-known airlines seem uncertain of when and how this situation will be over for good. Some media reports said many airlines are trying to figure out new technologies and safe methods to get the aviation industry back to work safely.
If this is true, I guess the pandemic will help create new business and investment opportunities to reshape a new concept of safe traveling as an outcome of the ongoing outbreak. We are stronger now and prepared for any shocks, and this should lead us to reshape new ideas about traveling. I believe it is time to adopt new ways for many reasons.
Traveling in the past often meant long and crowded queues, especially during the holiday seasons, including for collecting luggage. The plane was often very crowded and passengers sticking to each other was a regular matter, especially in the economy class. But I think this will change forever, because keeping a distance is a global demand not only at airports, but everywhere, and unless measures change, the number of passengers will undoubtedly decrease.
I think the pandemic will accelerate changing traveling methods to move towards a stronger adoption of new technologies. I think this is the right time with a drop in jet fuel prices, but it also means that the crisis is still ongoing and traveling for vacations, for example, is not possible, especially with international airports making cuts in their budgets and number of workers, and even car rental companies.
Maybe some new changes in operations will be the new normal in the near future. For example, expanding the use of drones for deliveries. I believe that easing some restrictions in this field is required now. Companies who wish to use drones either within the airport or even outside can get a permit. Recently, we saw a video of a pizza delivery by drone, so why not make it easier to register and for official entities to use this method for airport inspection and cargo.
Change is a must and if the virus will force the world to make new changes for the good, so why not. We are in 2020 and still educating people to wash their hands and stay clean, so if this dilemma has taught us something, it is that people still need to be redirected to new methods to stay safe and healthy and for travel too.
Another thing that I think is needed now is to adopt compulsory online check-in and wrapping bags, while keeping a distance between passengers on the plane with masks and gloves for protection from germs. I personally believe aviation as an industry may suffer now, but I expect it to be modified for the best soon. Maybe changes in aviation protocols are expensive and uncomfortable due to public concern for diseases, yet keeping passengers safe and healthy is a goal.