WHILE 2020 WILL CERTAINLY be remembered for the pandemic, stalled travel operations, and the challenging year that it was, it also was a year synonymous with adaptability, innovation. As operations start to resume, there is a new normal that everyone is getting accustomed to. From social-distancing to contactless activities, from thermal scanning devices to masks and face shields, travel has some new rules attached. As the industry begins operations with the hope for recovery, we look at some of the trends that are and will transform air travel in 2021.
CABIN CARE. As hygiene becomes the top most concern for any airline to gain passenger confidence, transformations in cabin cleanliness with advanced and frequent technological innovations. There has been a spotlight on the HEPA (High-efficiency particulate air) filters that are said to deliver the standard of air quality normally found in hospital operating theatres. Certain airlines are also considering to introduce separators, dividers or head shields attached to the seat as well as enhanced cleaning services to disinfect the cabins. Increasingly, more airlines like Qatar Airways and JetBlue are turning to ultraviolet cabin cleaning system. One of the examples of this system is the UV Cabin System, developed by Honeywell. It is a portable ultraviolet-c light (UVC) device that is roughly the size of an aircraft beverage cart, can cover an entire mid-sized airline cabin in less than 10 minutes.
INCREASE IN DOMESTIC TOURISM & REGIONAL CONNECTIVITY. As international travel still remains suspended in some parts of the world, domestic tourism is gathering popularity and preference among travelers. With this regional airlines are also gaining momentum as air travel is still considered to be safer than any other mode of public transportation. This is also giving rise to new airlines coming up to connect more places beyond the major metro cities within the country, and also adding to the point-to-point traffic commute especially among the low cost carriers. Many airlines around the globe are also adopting to seasonal routes to avail the festive opportunities.
The Centre for Asia-Pacific Aviation (CAPA) India predicted that the Indian airlines industry is heading towards consolidation and it could result in a 2-3 airline system in the near to medium term. CAPA India also foresees the cap on air fares for domestic travel to continue at least for the first half of 2021 and expects international flights to continue under the air bubble arrangements for the foreseeable future.
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