Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

07.52 5 May 2020


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Flights in the next few years are likely to be 'twice or three times' more expensive than before the coronavirus crisis, according to one Irish airline founder.

While many flights remain grounded due to the ongoing restrictions on travel, airlines around the world are beginning to focus on what the situation may look like once restrictions begin to be eased.

Pádraig Ó Céidigh, the founder of Aer Arann Express, spoke to Newstalk Breakfast about the 'extremely difficult' situation facing passengers and airlines alike.

Flights likely to be 'twice or three times' more expensive after coronavirus crisis - Ó Céidigh

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Mr Ó Céidigh stressed that the 'number one priority' will be protecting staff - and that means there will be extra costs.

He said: “Basically what it means for the flyer or traveller... it’s going to increase the cost quite significantly - to probably twice or three times what they would have paid up until now."

"The cost of running the airport is very significant, and obviously that cost is passed on to the airline which is passed on to the passenger.

“The second thing is the cost for airlines is going to increase significantly - the aviation authorities and health authorities are going to add significant extra burden, such as social distancing.

“There is a lot of talk, for example, that the middle aisle of a plane would be kept vacant - that means you’re flying with roughly two-thirds the number of passengers, and that’s really is very marginal - even if full - [to] break-even.”

Mr Ó Céidigh also noted that the experience of flying will change for customers - with potentially "more significant" changes to the process than after 9/11.

He explained: “You’re going to have less people flying - people are going to be more concerned for 3-5 years.

"You’re going to have less flights… you’re going to have less choices on where to go to.

“You may well be, in the short-term at least, expected to have some sort of certification to say you’re COVID-free."

Mr Ó Céidigh also observed that passengers may be asked to wear masks while flying - something which would be feasible on short-term flights, but could pose significant issues on longer-haul flights where people need to eat and drink.

He also said: “There are some airlines who already have given full PPE equipment to their cabin crew… they’re going around not only wearing mask, but also a shield and so on.

“The other thing that’s beginning to happen… in parts of Asia and Australia they’ve got a booth you walk through, and it’s effectively a mild disinfectant. You walk through it and it sprays this disinfectant on you and your clothes.”

Main image: File photo of Padraig O Ceidigh. Photo: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

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