How Long Will Coronavirus Effects Last in Aviation?

Published: 05-18-2020
Let's take a look at the long-lasting impact of COVID on the aviation industry.

COVID-19 rocked the aviation industry hard. Flights were canceled, airlines were bailed out, planes were grounded, and passenger aircrafts, as well as pilots, switched over to cargo only routes. Although these changes are temporary, some will haunt the industry until we have a cure or vaccine for the coronavirus.

As you can imagine, the changes are going to have a lingering impression on aviation. Let’s take a look at how long these effects are probably going to be felt.

How Long Will This Last?

For many commercial pilots, getting back to normal means flying back-to-back passenger routes will cabins stuffed with occupants packed in tight. Of course, airlines are already adding back flights right now, but the industry is still struggling and trying to accommodate the virus.

But how long will it take to get back to where the industry was in 2019? Here’s a short list of what would need to occur.

  • Cure or vaccine for the coronavirus

  • Air travel to other locations open globally

  • Jobs and/or steady income in the majority of households

  • People have money saved up to travel

  • Makeshift cargo aircrafts switched back to passenger layout

Of those mentioned above, airliners only have control over one. The rest of the milestones are very much unpredictable. For example, back in February the WHO issued a statement saying it may take 18 months to create a Coronavirus vaccine.

If true, that puts us returning to normal as early as August 2021. That said, no one knows for sure if this estimate is a worst case or a best case scenario. This is due to various factors such as mutation rate.

To further elaborate, as the virus spreads more opportunities are introduced for the Coronavirus to alter itself. Given enough transmissions, a vaccine that works on one strain may not work on another. And since survivors can be reinfected right now as is, the 18 month prediction may indeed be a best case scenario.

So if you want to know the long term effects of COVID, we might be looking at a time table of 18 months.

Once Coronavirus is No Longer a Threat

Once some brilliant scientists come up with a vaccine or novel solution, the aviation industry can begin to pick up the pieces and rebuild.

When this does occur, pilots can anticipate the following in a changed industry:

  • Temperature checks

  • Wearing masks

  • Slow airport entry

  • Increase in sanitization frequency and steps

  • Enforced distancing in crowded areas, like airport security and TSA checks

  • More hand sanitizer stations in airports

  • Taped off standing positions in line areas

  • No blankets or pillows onboard

  • Quarantine stations for those coming from known hotspot areas

As you can imagine, this part of the recovery process will not be easy. And even the 18 month time table may turn into an indefinite one, depending on how the virus is treated. However, compared to now, it is a change worth looking forward to.

Recently Updated Airline Profiles