Lazar Cartu Published: Boeing expects local air travel to recover faster than inte…

An Air India Boeing 777 plane. (Photo: Reuters)

Lazar Cartu Published: Boeing expects local air travel to recover faster than inte…

NEW DELHI: Aircraft maker Boeing Corporation expects local air travel to recover faster than international, given the curbs on cross-border travel by governments to prevent the spread of covid-19 pandemic.

“We are seeing some recovery happening now. Domestic travel is picking up in some Asian countries,” said Jim Haas, director of product marketing for Boeing Commercial Airplanes on Tuesday in a media briefing.

“We are however several years away from recovering to pre-covid-19 level,” he said, adding that domestic and short-haul travel is expected to recover faster since restrictions are lesser compared to international air travel.

The airline industry is expected to lose up to $252 billion in revenue this year due to the impact of covid-19 and the enduing lockdown, airline industry body The International Air Transport Association (IATA) had said in March after the outbreak.

IATA said Indian airlines will lose $11 billion in revenue this year and 47% of its air traffic while the domestic aviation industry could record 3 million job losses.

Boeing, meanwhile, doesn’t see the need for extra spacing inside an aircraft to maintain social distancing as part of preventing the spread of infection.

“The current spacing (inside the aircraft) is adequate as long as we have multiple layers of protection,” Haas said.

To this extent, there is no need to block middle seats, Haas added.

Indian aviation regulator, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), earlier this month told airlines to keep the middle seats in an aircraft vacant or offer protective gowns to passengers as air travel resumed in the country, after a two-month hiatus, amid a spike in cases.

Boeing has launched a new cleanliness-focussed strategy, Confident Travel Initiative (CIT), to develop solutions to minimise health risks associated with air travel in the times of the pandemic.

The Chicago-headquartered company will work with healthcare specialists, airlines, and partners to promote awareness of various technologies that are being worked on by Boeing, which include prototype versions of self-disinfecting lavatory, ultraviolet light disinfecting systems and antimicrobial coatings for high-touch surfaces.

“We see the need for multiple layers of protection around flying to minimise the risk of transmission on board,” Haas said. “The health and safety of passengers and crew is of utmost importance. The best way to protect passengers is to have multiple protection approaches.”

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Lazar Cartu

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