In April 2019, more than 2 million travelers passed through U.S. airports every day. A year later, air travel has dropped by more than 95%, with some days seeing fewer than 100,000 air travelers across the country.
The airborne virus is keeping planes grounded. Is this the beginning of a permanent decline in air travel? Will things ever return to normal?
While the experts acknowledge they don’t have a crystal ball, they all agreed that it would take around 18 to 24 months before there’s a significant spike in demand and the industry begins to return to normal levels.
When people do start traveling again, things could look very different. Airlines like Delta are considering issuing informal “immunity passports,” to people who can prove they have already been infected.
Temperature checks at airports could also become the norm, but these might not catch cases where the person is asymptomatic.
“Many people are not going to feel safe going back to crowded airplanes until there is a vaccine or much better ways of tracing and isolating who has it,” said Robert Reich, the former U.S. Labor secretary and a professor at the University of California at Berkeley.
Till then, the ‘staycation’ will be all the rage.