Flights in Europe 50% more expensive with obligation to leave free seats

in News · 06-05-2020 14:05:00 · 3 Comments

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) warned on 5 May of the “drastic increase” in flight prices if companies are forced to operate with free seats between passengers to guarantee distance, speaking of an increase in 49 percent in Europe.

"IATA does not support the imposition of measures of social distance that would leave the middle seats empty", defends in a statement the international association, which represents about 290 airlines from 120 countries and 82 percent of world air traffic.

Alerting to the impact of these types of measures on the economic viability of operations, upon their resumption after the lifting of restrictive measures related to the covid-19 pandemic, IATA argues that “with fewer places to sell, unit costs [charged each passenger] would increase dramatically”.

And, according to the accounts of the international association, in order to be able to cover the costs of operations and make them viable, the fees charged per place in Europe could even rise 49 percent, going from an average value of 135 dollars (124 Euros) to 201 dollars (184 Euros).

According to IATA, for these accounts a weighting factor of 79 percent was considered, which counterbalances with lower than usual occupancy rates, given the major financial difficulties of airlines resulting from the crisis generated by covid-19.

At a time when the European Commission is preparing to issue recommendations on the resumption of air connections, IATA expresses its opposition to these measures of social distance on board, stressing at the outset that “the evidence suggests that the risk of transmission on board aircraft is low”.

For this entity, it is first necessary to ensure that, temporarily, both passengers and airline crew use protective equipment such as face masks.

"The use of masks by passengers and crew will reduce the already low risk, while avoiding the dramatic increase in air travel costs that social distancing measures on board would bring," argues IATA.

According to the international association, even if countries temporarily instituted the measure to leave the place of the free environment, “it was not possible to ensure the recommended separation for social distancing to be effective”, since “most authorities recommend a two meters and the average seat width is less than 50 centimetres”.

In addition to the masks, IATA recommends that carriers measure the temperature of passengers and workers, adopt boarding and disembarking processes with less contact, limit movements within aircraft during flights, perform more frequent and thorough cleaning of aircraft and simplify aircraft food services.

This position of the sector is similar to that already expressed by the European Commission.

In an interview with the Lusa agency published last Sunday, 3 May, the European Commissioner for Transport, Adina V?lean, recommended that, when flights are resumed, passengers wear protective equipment such as masks, considering this measure “the least that can be done”.

Already questioned by Lusa about the possible placement of empty seats between passengers to ensure social distance, Adina V?lean rejected this measure as a rule.

"As a rule, I do not recommend keeping free spaces [between passengers]," he said.

A different position was expressed by the Portuguese Government, which, in a decree published in Diário da República last weekend, determined that passenger air transport should be limited to two thirds of the capacity normally provided for each aircraft.

Meanwhile, Economy Minister Pedro Siza Vieira has already come to ensure that Portugal will adapt to European rules in re-establishing air links between countries.


Comments:

Perhaps jump in the car and drive then.
I don't need luxury while flying. To fly is a luxury. To get somewhere in Europe in less than 2 hours instead of 13 hours isn't good enough??

By MR JAKUB HNILICKA from UK on 08-05-2020 11:03

After having to cancell my last flight due to the Covid-19 and losing in the process a considerable amount of money unduly retained in my opinion by the air company, it is time to solve the problem for the time being! Stop flying! With this move I have just solve not one but several problems including avoid airports, long lines, waiting times, difficult conections, security controls, humiliations, unnecessary stress and above all avoiding air companies which have being providing over the last years an ever deteriorating low quality services and most importantly being obliged to breath for many hours poor air quality inside the planes that in nowadays can also loaded if you are unlucky with deadly viruses! Besides, the destination country full of controls, vain tourists and increasing higher prices it is no more as attractive, relaxing or enjoyable as it used to be!

By Tony Fernandes from Other on 07-05-2020 07:22

We should certainly be limiting contact between passengers and crew. Perhaps the sale of scratch cards and over priced duty free should be banned.

By Scott from Algarve on 06-05-2020 03:55
Interactive Topics, send us your comments/opinion on this article.

Please note that The Portugal News may use selected comments in the printed edition of the newspaper.