Author Topic: covidair  (Read 1037 times)

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covidair
« on: April 15, 2020, 12:43:42 PM »
Thailand extends ban on passenger flights until end-April

Thailand has extended a ban on incoming passenger flights until the end of April in a bid to curb the coronavirus outbreak, the country's aviation body said on Wednesday (April 15).

The ban was first introduced on April 4, and the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand has already extended it in once until April 18.

Since the outbreak escalated in January, Thailand has reported a total of 2,613 cases and 41 deaths, while 1,405 patients have recovered and gone home.

Thailand's tourist industry, a major employer and foreign currency earner in the country, particularly hard.

Thailand's economy is expected to lose 1.3 trillion baht (S$56.5 billion), almost all of it in the tourist sector, due to the initial impact of the coronavirus pandemic, though that figure will increase if the crisis lasts beyond the second quarter, according to an estimate from the Thai Bankers' Association.

Earlier this month, the country's interior ministry said Thailand will re-open borders in 21 provinces on Saturday to allow Thais in neighboring countries to come home, after shutting down borders in late March.

Up to 100 people will be allowed to enter per one border checkpoint per day, and they will be subject to a 14-day state quarantine, the ministry has said.

Thailand shares borders with Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Malaysia. REUTERS  todayonline.com

           
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Re: Flights back to normal by Oct 2021, says AOT
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2020, 01:41:40 PM »
Flights back to normal by Oct 2021, says AOT

Airports of Thailand (AOT) expects the volume of flights to return to normal by October 2021, AOT president Nitinai Sirismatthakarn announced on Thursday (April 23).

AOT’s management team forecasts that in fiscal year 2020 (October 2019 to September 2020) Thai airports will see about 493,800 flights and about 66.58 million passengers.

“Total flights and passengers will drop by 44.9 per cent and 53.1 per cent, respectively, due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” Nitinai said.

“The forecast was made by considering that recovery of the aviation business is dependent on the recovery of destination countries. Meanwhile, Thailand’s important destination countries are countries in the Asia-Pacific region which account for over 80 per cent of our travel.”

He expects domestic flights to recover before international services, since the latter are dependent on countries’ moves to contain the spread of Covid-19 and how long it takes to develop antiviral drugs or vaccines.

“If the Covid-19 situation is brought under control in countries worldwide, the economy in Thailand and other major countries will recover, while traffic volume will return to normal in October 2021,” he said.

Meanwhile, the AOT board had resolved to establish a limited company to manage the Perishable Premium Lane (PPL) project to build a certification hub for agricultural products, added Nitinai.

“AOT will hold 49 per cent of the shares, while the private enterprise with expertise in the field will hold 51 per cent,” he said.

"The project would increase flexibility in the management of Thai agricultural products to meet international standards."

He added that the PPL lane would inspect and prepare agricultural products in an area separate from the cargo terminal

“This is like providing a business-class service for products, with experts taking care of products in the PPL lane before delivering them to the cargo terminal,” he added.

“We expect the limited company to be registered in June and begin operating in November this year.”

nationthailand.com
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Re: Airlines Required to Provide Face Masks, Seat Spacing in Pandemic
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2020, 05:41:26 PM »
All airlines will also be prohibited from serving food and drink on board :-[

Airlines Required to Provide Face Masks, Seat Spacing in Pandemic

The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) said on Tuesday that it will meet with domestic airlines to check health and safety measures before granting the carriers the permission to resume local flights from May 1.

Many Thai airlines had already suspended flight services since March 25 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“All airlines will be required to only allow every other seat to be occupied and passengers will have to wear masks at all times while on board,” said CAAT director-general Chula Sukmanop. “All airlines will also be prohibited from serving food and drink on board.”

Chula also said the CAAT is looking into whether a ban on foreign flights should be extended.

The foreign flight ban is scheduled to be lifted after April 30.

khaosodenglish.com
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Re: Domestic flights may resume on May 1, but under strict conditions
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2020, 01:19:22 PM »
Domestic flights may resume on May 1, but under strict conditions



If provinces where tourist destinations are located start lifting their restrictions next month, then airlines will be allowed to resume domestic flight services but only under strict conditions.

Chula Sukmanop, director-general of the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT), said on Thursday (April 23) that he has met with representatives of both local and international airlines to discuss the option of allowing domestic flights to start operating from May 1.

“Though the Covid-19 outbreak appears to be subsiding and carriers are preparing to resume operations, every airline is required to strictly follow every disease prevention rule,” he said.

It is mandatory for airlines to observe the following rules once they resume services:

• The province of the destination should have eased restrictions.

• Passengers can only occupy every other seat.

• Social distancing must be strictly observed at check-in counters and during embarking and disembarking.

• No food or drink can be served on the flight.

• Special seats must be reserved for risky passengers for routes longer than 90 minutes.

• Crew members must wear masks, face shields and gloves.

• Passengers are required to always wear a mask.

Passengers need to have their own mask and are not allowed to bring food on the plane. For flights that are longer than 90 minutes, airlines must reserve seats at the back of the plane for passengers who show symptoms of Covid-19, he said.

Chula added that travellers will have to check flights and timetables with the airlines directly as not all routes will be open. They can also monitor the latest updates about Covid-19 cases at the CAAT website, www.caat.or.th/corona.

So far, Air Asia is the only airline that has indicated it will resume flights on May 1, while Lion Air has said it will wait for the government’s decision on whether or not to extend the state of emergency. Some government officials have signalled that a few restrictions may be eased though the state of emergency may be extended beyond April 30.

nationthailand.com
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Re: Don Mueang roars back to life
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2020, 03:27:38 PM »
Don Mueang roars back to life  nationthailand.com
The buzz returned to Don Mueang Airport on Friday (May 1), as Thai AirAsia and Thai Lion Air resumed flights on domestic routes after flying was temporarily halted due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Passengers started arriving from 5am. The airport has installed additional measures to screen passengers, such as thermometers at every entrance, including the exit at the passenger terminal. Officers are enforcing distancing between passengers to reduce the risk of being infected with Covid-19.

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Re: Air travellers to five provinces face quarantine on arrival
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2020, 02:09:38 PM »
Air travellers to five provinces face quarantine on arrival
Travellers landing at Phitsanulok, Buri Ram, Krabi, Trang, and Nakhon Phanom airports will be quarantined, the Department of Airports director-general, Tawee Gasisam-ang, said.

On Friday (May 1), four airlines -- Nok Air, Thai AirAsia, Thai Lion Air and VietJet Air -- resumed flights to 14 provincial airports across Thailand – Lampang, Mae Sot, Phitsanulok, Buri Ram, Sakon Nakhon, Nakhon Phanom, Roi Et, Khon Kaen, Ubon Ratchathani, Udon Thani, Trang, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Surat Thani and Krabi.

Tawee said that those who take a flight to Phitsanulok must be quarantined for 14 days at home with their families if they are local people, or in hotels that are part of the "Save Phisanulok" programme for 14 days.

However, those who arrive at Phitsanulok airport for taking another flight need not to be quarantined.

Those who take a flight to Buriram must be quarantined as weel, he added.

Krabi airport, meanwhile, informed that vistiors must have a medical certificate from their point of embarkation that they are free from Covid-19.

Those who do not have certificate will be sent to a local quarantine centre, the director-general said.

Trang, meanwhile, is ready to receive locals. But those on a work visit must have documents related to their work and a medical certificate from their place of origin. In addition, they will be in quarantine in Trang for 14 days.

Nakhon Phanom will allow only passengers to enter the passenger terminal, not their relatives and friends. The province also has barred migrant workers from entering without the governor’s permission.

nationthailand.com

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Some airlines are planning to fly with middle seats empty to help passengers social distance. But will it work – and can they afford it?

airlines are examining what flying might look like as travel restrictions start to be relaxed. Carriers are haemorrhaging money and it’s very much in their interests to get planes back in the air. Passenger confidence will be one of many hurdles to overcome, however, with many worried about keeping a reasonable distance from their fellow travellers.

Several airlines are exploring the idea of keeping middle seats empty, to avoid passengers sitting directly beside each other. European short-haul carrier EasyJet was the latest airline to float the idea, with chief executive Johan Lundgren describing it last week as “something that the customers would like to see”. Other airlines that have mooted similar plans include Alaska Airlines and European budget carrier Wizz Air.

Removing the unloved middle seat option would lead to a hearty hooray from the travelling public. Sit by the window and you get a view, plus a bulkhead to snooze against. In an aisle seat, you can pop to the toilet or stretch whenever you like. The middle seat has no such benefits, unless you’re one of those people who strikes up conversations with their seatmates.

But would blocking middle seats actually help us maintain proper social distancing and if so, how long could airlines keep doing it? Is it a realistic option beyond the very short term?

“Right now, we need it, because not doing so would contradict instructions from authorities and common sense. The urgent need to slow infection rates takes precedence overall, even if the solution is not perfect,” explains Daniel Baron, managing director of Tokyo-based LIFT Aero Design, which helps airlines design cabins and customer experience. “Long term, however, it is not economically sustainable. After the dust settles, we will all go back to expecting affordable global mobility again. To enable the fares for that, especially if total capacity has been reduced, airlines will need bums in all seats.”

In the two-metre theory, four passengers need 26 seats

Planes are very much not set up for social distancing – entirely the opposite. Billions of dollars have been spent in recent years in particular to fit as many people as possible into smaller spaces. For example, when the big wide-body, twin-aisle, twin-engine Boeing 777 started flying in the 1990s, most of them had nine seats per economy row on long-haul flights. Today, almost all airlines flying the plane – whether long-haul with the likes of Emirates or short-haul within Japan – have 10 seats, meaning narrower seats and narrower aisles.

full article bbc.com

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Tourism levy mulled

The Tourism and Sports Ministry is considering a tax of 300 baht or less per person for foreign arrivals that could cover pandemic insurance, once inbound flights and tourism activities resume in the country.

Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, the tourism and sports minister, said the tax would be collected once foreigners arrive by air, land or sea transport.

The scheme is part of the 20-year national strategic plan that requires government agencies to have recurring income to sustain and stabilise the national economy.

The levy will be added to the tourism fund managed by the ministry that aims to rebuild and develop tourism supply chains here, as well as offer safety and security protection for tourists.

He said this idea was initiated last year but was delayed because of the pandemic. Now is the right time to initiate collection, said Mr Phiphat.

The goal is to have tourists entering via air travel charged as a part of their air tickets, but the government has not finalised how collection for land and sea transport would work.

"The pandemic has had a severe impact on tourism confidence, and the tourism fund should set aside a budget for state agencies to carry on when looking after tourists affected by the pandemic," he said.

Mr Phiphat said the ministry assigned Naresuan University to conduct a feasibility study on a reasonable tax burden for visitors. The ministry estimates the maximum should not exceed 300 baht per person.

He said Japan implemented similar measures, commencing a departure tax of ¥1,000 [around 300 baht] per person.

Mr Phiphat favours a levy of 100-200 baht.

After the feasibility study is finished, the ministry will submit it to the cabinet for approval. The ministry intends to announce the new tax before the fourth quarter to let tourists prepare, he said.

"The Tourism Authority of Thailand's [TAT] new target is 16 million arrivals this year, but I'm not optimistic we can reach that goal as international tourists will not come back before the fourth quarter. Compared with the last quarter of 2019, when we had 11-12 million arrivals, the new goal is too high amid these circumstances," said Mr Phiphat.

TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn said the amendment of the National Tourism Policy Act at the end of last year allows the ministry to tax foreign tourists. The ministry's measures are part of the long-term tourism development plan.

"As long as Thailand has a clear plan on how to use the fund effectively and benefit international tourists, it should not create any obstacles," said Mr Yuthasak.

bangkokpost.com
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Re: covidair - Bangkok Airways resumes domestic flights to Samui
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2020, 12:01:22 AM »
Bangkok Airways resumes domestic flights to Samui

Bangkok Airways resumed domestic flights twice daily on the Bangkok-Samui route on Friday (May 15).

The daily service to and from the holiday island will relaunch with enhanced precautionary measures and social distancing practices in compliance with government and aviation authority rules, said the boutique airline.

Specially designed face masks were handed out to passengers to mark the resumption of operations on Friday.

Bangkok Airways said it has taken precautionary measures in line with guidelines set by airport authorities at both the arrival and departure points.

The measures include body temperature screening, mandatory wearing of face masks, social distancing via onboard seat allocations, and floor markings to indicate appropriate distancing at all service areas including the transfer bus.

In the interest of passengers’ health and hygiene, the in-flight meal service has been suspended and consumption of personal food and drink is not allowed onboard.

Cabin attendants are required to wear masks and gloves when on duty and passengers are required to prepare and wear masks at all times during flight.

nationthailand.com

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At the airport, expect plexiglass, face masks and long, long lines

For as long as most of us can remember, air travel hasn't been a whole lot of fun. As airlines crawl out of virus-lockdown mode, passengers can expect it to be even more of a bummer, with new temperature check points, lines of distancing people stretching into the parking lot, and plexiglass barriers isolating baggage clerks, baristas, and other staffers.

Face masks and gloves will be de rigueur, disinfectants will be everywhere, and even though many processes will be automated to minimize human interaction, industry officials predict travel times will have to increase to accommodate the hygiene-inspired precautions.

"Going through an airport, the whole travel experience, will be as enjoyable as open-heart surgery," says Paul Griffiths, chief executive officer of Dubai Airports, whose workers wear disposable gowns and safety visors that wouldn't look out of place in a covid-19 ward.

As governments draw up plans to get the world flying again, proposals aimed at keeping passengers safe are often confusing and contradictory-for instance keeping people from sitting next to each other at the departure gate but cramming them six or eight abreast for hours during a flight. And if implemented long-term, executives say they could do almost as much damage to airline and airport profits as remaining closed altogether.

Keeping 400 people-the capacity of many jumbo-jets-two meters from one another "means a queue of close to a kilometer, which fills up the departure hall and out into the car park," says John Holland-Kaye, CEO of London's Heathrow airport. Enforcing a two-meter rule could reduce the airport's capacity to 20% of its usual level, he says. "That's not something we can keep doing until a vaccine comes along."

Instead, Holland-Kaye says, airports would do better to screen passengers for covid-19 at the terminal entrance. Heathrow, Europe's busiest hub, is testing a thermal detection system intended to identify people with the virus, technology that's been used in Asia for years. The U.K. government, though, has yet to endorse it.

At Frankfurt airport, Europe's fourth-busiest, check-in counters, baggage-claim areas, and boarding-pass and security checkpoints have been redesigned to ensure people stay at least 1.5 meters apart, with markings on the floor indicating the required distance. Hundreds of posters and digital displays promote distancing, the PA system lights up every five minutes in multiple languages with announcements on distancing rules, and trained agents walk the halls to enforce them. Disinfectant dispensers are ubiquitous, and plastic shields have been installed anywhere staff interact with customers.

"We've put in place a good package of measures to reduce the risk of getting infected," Matthias Zieschang, chief financial officer of Fraport AG, the operator of the Frankfurt airport, said on a call with analysts.

At Amsterdam Schiphol, Europe's No. 3 hub, every second check-in desk and departure gate is closed to minimize mixing, and at baggage claim each flight gets its own belt. Munich has installed a vending machine dispensing masks, sanitary wipes, and disposable gloves. Helsinki airport, a major crossroads for travel between Europe and Asia, provides masks for anyone who doesn't have one and requires people meeting arriving passengers to stay in their cars or wait in a deserted terminal building that has been idled.

At Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, alternating seats are blocked off. Cleaning staff spray the terminals with disinfectants every night, and the elevator floors are marked to ensure distancing-allowing just three people in a spacious cabin. At a pharmacy, there's a mannequin wearing a mask and visor in addition to an inflatable neck pillow. And the airport is testing new Chinese-made machines that can check the temperatures of 16 people per second as they leave baggage claim. Passengers with a fever will be pulled aside and given the option of seeing the airport's medical personnel and a rapid Covid-19 diagnostic test.

"If they refuse, that's their choice," says Edward Arkwright, deputy CEO of Aeroports de Paris. "We're counting on individual freedom and a sense of responsibility. The aim is to put in place measures that will instill confidence so everyone feels they can travel safely."

What's not feasible, airlines say, is blocking off rows of seats aboard aircraft to maintain distancing at 38,000 feet. Such a move would do little to contain the virus while hammering profits at airlines, the International Air Transport Association says. With middle rows removed, single-aisle jets would fly no more than two-thirds full, whereas 70% is needed just to break even, according to the trade group.

De facto distancing will happen anyway, says Jozsef Varadi, CEO of low-cost carrier Wizz Air, because few people are likely to book seats once airlines start to expand their schedules again. He says he has no plans to limit the number of passengers. Some travelers, though, are already complaining that carriers are letting planes get too full.

"Airlines are in the business of delivering passenger health and safety, but also economic efficiency," Varadi says. "We are not structurally looking to get rid of physical seats."

Instead, carriers expect protective equipment, disinfectants, and restrictions on movement to keep the virus from spreading. Varadi says his customers will need to cover their faces throughout the journey. Crew will don masks and gloves, meal service will be minimal, and contactless cards will be needed for any purchases. There will be no in-flight magazines or catalogues, and planes will be disinfected with an antiviral fog between trips. And low-cost giant Ryanair Holdings Plc says it will require passengers to make a special request to use the toilet to prevent queuing in the aisles.

Some airports are placing their hopes on a system that combines screening with certificates showing that the holder is either free of the disease or has had it and is immune, as well as contract-tracing that will allow cases to be tracked should a flare-up occur.

Vienna airport lets arriving passengers avoid a 14-day government quarantine by undergoing a molecular-biological test in a facility near the airport. Departing passengers who are tested can get a document proving they're virus-free to present to officials upon landing. But the test must be booked days in advance, takes about three hours for results, and at 190 euros costs more than many flights.

For Dubai Airports chief Griffiths, it all adds up to a pressing need for a vaccine. While the emergency measures being introduced may help boost passenger confidence, he says they're not sustainable either for companies or the traveling public.

"This crisis is unlike anything we've ever seen in the aviation business," he says. "We're dealing with a monster."

nationthailand.com
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16May2020

Extension of temporary ban on all international flights to Thailand until 30 June 2020

According  to the latest Notification of the Civil Aviation  Authority of  Thailand Re: Temporary Ban on All International Flights to Thailand issued on 27 April 2020, in order to maintain the continuity of the prevention and control measures, by virtue of Section 27 and 28 of the Air Navigation Act B.E. 2497, the Civil Aviation Authorityof Thailand hereby issuesthe following orders:

1.The ban on international passenger flights to Thailand will be extended from 1 June 2020 at 17.00 UTC to 30 June 2020 at 17.00 UTC.

2. All flight permits granted for such period will be canceled.

3.  The  ban  does  not  apply  to  state  or  military  aircraft,  emergency  landing, technical  landing  without  disembarkation,  humanitarian aid,  medical and relief  flights, repatriation flights and cargo flights.

4. The passengers on board the aircraft in 3. will be subjected to the measures under communicable disease law, such as 14 days state quarantine, and the regulations under the Emergency Decree on State of Emergency.

This shall come into force on the date of its announcement until amendment.

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Re: covidair - how much are you ready to change your flying habits
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2020, 01:18:33 AM »
Future Air Travel: Four-Hour Process, Self Check-In, Disinfection, Immunity Passes
Once airports and borders open again and people are able to fly freely — a process already in play as airports of all sizes around the world ready strategies to ensure healthy air travel — how much are you ready to change your flying habits?

As much as was required after 9/11? Less? More?

Considering some of the changes already happening and the many more recommended before airports can reopen safely to commercial routes, experts are referring to the coronavirus pandemic as ‘the new terrorism,’ triggering the biggest crisis the airline industry has ever faced.

Let’s start with the entire process of checking in for flights, which some calculate that it could take up to four hours and involving social distancing, sanitation of passengers and luggage, wider spaces for various lines and waiting to board.

Nine out of 10 experts expect slower turnarounds between flights due to the need of thorough cleaning of cabins and following of sanitary measures at airports.

In the short run, though, it’s expected that reduced passenger numbers and airlines traveling to a smaller pool of destinations may reduce delays.

What You Can Expect

Among the steps under consideration: no cabin bags, no lounges, no automatic upgrades, face masks, surgical gloves, self-check-in, self-bag-drop-off, immunity passports, on-the-spot blood tests and sanitation disinfection tunnels.

Digital technologies and automation will play a critical role in the future of air travel. The need to reduce “touchpoints” at airports implies mandatory use of biometric boarding that allows passengers to board planes with only their face as a passport.

A number of airlines including British Airways, Qantas and EasyJet already are using the technology.

According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), “the ‘new normal’ at major airports, such as Heathrow, JFK and Singapore Changi will include almost exclusive use of online check-ins, and contactless payments.

Then there are the radical changes the airports will have to make starting most probably with stopping non-fliers from entering at all except for unaccompanied minors or others who need assistance.

They will need more extensive all-biometric check-in systems and efficient DYI for dropping off bags, ‘travel bubbles,’ or tunnels for disinfection. (After being checked in, luggage may also be put through a disinfection fogging tunnel). They also must install demarcation of the spaces for social distancing in corridors and concourses, larger spaces for queues and waiting, plexiglass or other protective barriers at customer service counters, hand sanitation stations and thermal scanning to check crowds for fever-grade body temperatures, which already are in use in some major airports.

"Only those 'fit to fly' will be allowed to enter," predicts the airline strategy firm SimpliFlying, in a recent report, where it identifies more than 70 different areas in the passenger journey that “are expected to either change or to be introduced from scratch, including having bags ‘sanitagged’ after going through fogging, electrostatic or UV-disinfection to restore confidence in flying after COVID-19.”

The Telegraph explains that “it may sound futuristic, but UV sanitation is likely to become commonplace at the world’s airports. London Heathrow says it is to begin trialling the process for its security trays.”

And then comes boarding

The boarding process is expected also to become ‘touchless,’ with options including facial recognition, already used in some U.S. airports for international flights. On the planes, there will be blocked seats, electrostatic spraying, personnel in protective gear and, of course, masks. Major European carriers such as Air France and KLM already have made them compulsory and it’s expected that all other airlines will do the same.

As for food, the tendency is to stop serving altogether on short-haul flights, while the airlines consider ‘light refreshments’ for long-haul flights. Hong Kong Airlines has decided to stop offering food altogether.
On Arrival

At the arrival point, SimpliFlying forecasts, international passengers will need to show some type of immunity document/passport, also advocated by the International Air Transport Association, IATA, to border control agents. Once a vaccine has been found, that could shift to a proof of vaccination.

“Arriving passengers will also undergo another temperature screening at their final destination and potentially even blood tests for COVID-19,” Conde Nast predicts. “Some airports like Hong Kong and Vienna are testing passengers for the coronavirus with a blood test before they are allowed to enter the country. Those types of tests, however, might be short-lived.”

Thermal testing is also recommended by IATA, “while Airlines UK, which represents British Airways, EasyJet and Virgin Atlantic, has said ‘pre-screening’ of travelers should be introduced ideally as early in the passenger journey as possible,” reports The Telegraph.

Although there are no standard decisions about making such tests and screening mandatory, airports and airlines are pushing for uniform regulations. It’s not clear who will be responsible for checking travelers' temperatures and other Covid-19 symptoms, for example.

SimpliFlying predicts that a new federal health agency likely will be created to coordinate health screenings inside airports.

As immediately following 9/11, a process of trial-and-error is likely, with many airports and airlines following what some ‘pioneers’ establish.

“There will be new protocols for check-in involving digital technology; hand sanitizer stations at frequent points including where luggage is stored; contactless payment instead of cash; using stairs more often than lifts where the two-meter-rule can be harder to maintain; and fitness equipment being moved for greater separation, among other examples,” the WTTC wrote in a recent report.

The international institution says that the sector will face a gradual return to travel over the coming months as a “new normal” emerges before a vaccine becomes available on a mass scale, large enough to inoculate billions of people.

Travel is likely to return first to domestic markets with “staycations,” then to a country’s nearest neighbors before expanding across regions, and then finally across continents to welcome the return of journeys to long-haul international destinations. WTTC believes that younger travelers in the 18-35 age group, who appear to be less vulnerable to COVID-19, also may be among the first to begin traveling again.

According to Gloria Guevara, WTTC President & CEO, traveling in the ‘new normal’ age requires coordinated actions, including new standards and protocols, “for a safe and responsible road to recovery for the global Travel & Tourism sector as consumers start planning trips again.”

The new protocols and standards are being defined following feedback from associations representing the different travel sectors including International Air Transport Association (IATA), the Airport Council International (ACI), Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), United States Travel Association (USTA), Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the European Travel Commission (ETC) and the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).

But with protocols and standards, biometric systems, immunity passports and the best intentions for a safe road to recovery, the future of traveling, as New York Times’s Niraj Chokshi explains, is still bleak: “With much of the world closed for business, and no widely available vaccine in sight, it may be months, if not years, before airlines operate as many flights as they did before the crisis. Even when people start flying again, the industry could be transformed, much as it was after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.”

And in the process, as it is already the case, some airlines, especially smaller ones, will be push into bankruptcy or become takeover targets. “Consumer fears about catching the virus on crowded planes could lead to reconfigured seating. Carriers may initially entice wary travelers with discounts, but if they can’t fill up flights, they may resort to raising ticket prices.”

For Dave CalhounIn, CEO of Boeing, not only are the smaller airlines in danger. He thinks that at least a major U.S carrier will “most likely” go out of business due to the coronavirus pandemic. In an interview with NBC News’ TODAY, on Tuesday he told Savannah Guthrie: “...something will happen when September comes around. Traffic levels will not be back to 100%. They won't even be back to 25%. Maybe by the end of the year we approach 50%. So there will definitely be adjustments that have to be made on the part of the airlines.”

forbes.com
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a bit of a down to earth fun article from stickmanbangkok.com on flying when your going on holiday, the flight has until now always been part of that holiday, now it's begining to sound like a trip to the dentist. :-[

Face Masks, Blood Tests, High Prices And The Michelin Man

I’m keen to get back to Bangkok, but it doesn’t look like it will happen any time soon. A travel ban on flights in and out of Thailand mean there’s no chance of visiting and even if that travel ban is lifted, I’d face 14 days compulsory quarantine upon return to New Zealand. There has been much in the news about what the future of international travel might look like, and I have to say that I don’t like what I’m hearing.

I’m no fan of flying. No-one likes being cooped up in a tight space next to strangers for hours on end. I hate bureaucracy and at airports there are so many rules. And  who likes that feeling of disorientation and one’s body clock being horribly out of sync when you finally reach your destination having crossed multiple time-zones. From checking in for the flight to exiting the airport at your destination, international air travel is hardly a pleasant experience.

The Thai Airways flight departs Auckland at 1:50 PM but for me, Auckland Airport is almost 5 hours’ drive from home. That means waking up at 4:00 AM, in the car at 5:00 AM and after a stop for a much-needed coffee and the obligatory pit stop 30 – 45 minutes later, we arrive at Auckland Airport around 10:30 AM. Check in, make a beeline for the lounge and the one relaxing part of what is a very long day where we can relax and enjoy the buffet before the 11-hour flight. By the time the plane touches down around 8:00 PM Thai time, you’ve battled the queues at immigration and finally get through the airport, you have the dreaded Bangkok traffic to face, it is getting on for 10 PM local time / 22 hours since leaving home. I’m buggered that night, the next day and it’s not until 48 hours that I am starting to feel like myself. And in a few weeks you return home and get to do it all again.

I’m average height and slim so economy isn’t so bad. I’m fit and healthy so the effects of flying, lack of sleep and all that all shouldn’t be as harsh on me as it may be on someone less healthy. And as a regular traveller, I have my “good travel routines” which includes loading up on vitamin C, zinc and Manuka honey in the days before I travel. If these long flights mess me up, how does a tall, overweight, unhealthy dude manage?!

Long flights knock me about and as much as I look forward to getting to the destination, I dread the long flight. I am concerned that air travel might become even more unpleasant in the post Covid-19 era.

Air fares may jump as fewer passengers can fly on each plane due to social distancing. All things being equal, fewer passengers means ticket prices have to go up. By how much, no-one knows. Increases of 50% or more have been banded about, not a trivial amount.

The average airfare I have paid on Thai Airways in recent years is $NZ1,100. A 50% increase would be another $550, making the fare $NZ 1,650 (about 33,000 Thai baht). I could rationalise that if the price of hotel rooms drop, as I expect they will. But if hotel rates don’t drop? Hmm….that’s a lot to pay just to get to Thailand.

To prevent the spread of Covid-19, many aviation commentators predict facemasks will become compulsory on flights. I have never worn a facemask in my life. I just don’t like the idea of wearing a mask, especially when the jury is out on whether they protect you from Covid-19 or not. I could put up with wearing a facemask if it was compulsory.

One thing I wouldn’t accept is the mooted change to the rules regarding carry-on luggage. Some commentators say the carry-on limit might be reduced to just 3 kg. Others say carry-on might not be allowed at all. That would be a big problem.

Thai Airways has always had a very relaxed attitude towards carry-on. A couple of bags in economy has never been a problem. I have a laptop bag with my laptop, iPad, various documents, pens, chargers etc. and another with all my camera gear. It has never been an issue on Thai.

As a keen photographer, not being able to take my gear on a flight means travelling without my camera gear. That might just be a deal breaker. Having seen the way luggage is handled at airports, no way would I check any of that gear in.

There has been some out-there stuff talked about which could make international flying really unpleasant and you hope it is but speculation and nothing more.

Ryanair – admittedly, an airline I have never flown and almost certainly never will fly – has said passengers will have to ask for permission on flights to use the toilet. I guess there’s a good reason – so the loo can be cleaned between each passenger. It does rather remind you of being in class at school and asking for permission to leave the classroom and use the toilet.

Photos of air crew dressed in gear making them look like a doctor in an Ebola zone is really off-putting and would be a real mood killer. The air hostesses on Thai make the journey a little less unpleasant. If they were dressed like the Michelin Man I don’t think it would have quite the same effect!

What about all the crap you have to deal with before you even board the plane?

There has been talk that a blood test may be carried out at the airport before you get on a flight, or perhaps at your destination before you proceed to immigration control. I get it, BUT – and it’s a big BUT – with the numbers travelling it just doesn’t seem practical.

What is the atmosphere going to be like in the departure lounge? Will it feel like the waiting room of a cancer clinic where patients are waiting for their test results, wondering who has got it?

Flying is part of the trip. I would hate to see some of what is being talked about become the new normal.

There are limits to what some of us will put up with. If the impositions placed on passengers make the whole airport / flight experience truly unpleasant, sooner or later we’ll ask ourselves if it’s all really worth it.

I wonder when I’ll get back to Thailand. If airfares go up a little, I can live with that. If air hostesses look like the Michelin Man and we’re forced to wear masks, I can put up with that too. If blood tests are required and there are hours long waits for a negative result before you’re cleared to enter, I don’t know if I would risk it. (A false positive would be a nightmare.) If carry-on luggage isn’t allowed, forget it.

I really hope that air travel doesn’t start to feel like a trip to the dentist, something that costs a lot and can be anything from unpleasant to downright painful. I haven’t visited a dentist since 2005. I hope it isn’t that long until I visit Thailand again.
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.

Offline thaiga

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Re: covidair - How do air travel safety measures differ by country?
« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2020, 12:24:57 AM »
How do air travel safety measures differ by country?

Governments, airlines and airports around the world are putting in place new measures to help protect travellers and allow for a return to the air during the global coronavirus pandemic.

Thailand

The aviation regulator requires airlines to leave at least one seat empty between passengers, who are required to wear surgical masks onboard. No food and beverages will be served during flights and passengers are not allowed to eat or drink. In an event of emergency, the cabin crew may provide water.

Malaysia

The government is requiring airlines carry a maximum of half the usual number of passengers on board, with some exceptions on flights between peninsular Malaysia and states in Borneo. At the airport, passengers must remain 1 metre apart from each other for social distancing, including markers in queues. Malaysia Airlines requires passengers to wear masks on board.

Indonesia

Airlines can only carry half the usual number of passengers as part of government requirements to leave 1 metre between them. Air crew are required to take the temperature of passengers 30 minutes before landing. Passengers must wear masks and fill in a health awareness card.

Philippines

The government requires passengers to wear masks upon entering the airport, mandatory temperature checks and for social distancing measures to be observed at queuing points. Security screenings should be done with minimal contact. Passengers need to fill out an electronic health declaration form.

United States

There are no government-imposed measures in the United States, though all major US airlines require face coverings and several are capping the number of seats sold or leaving middle seats empty. Many airports are also requiring face coverings. Major US airlines have also endorsed temperature checks at airports by the US Transportation Security Administration, which so far has implemented safety measures such as increased spacing in security checkpoint queues.

European Union and United Kingdom

The European Commission last week proposed airlines and airports require passengers to wear masks, and reorganise check-ins, dropoffs and luggage pickups to avoid crowds. Travellers should keep luggage and movement in the cabin to a minimum. The guidelines are not binding, but they may help form a framework in the bloc as restrictions are lifted. The United Kingdom is observing EU trade and travel regulations until the end of 2020.

China

The aviation regulator is requiring extra ventilation and sterilisation of airplanes and airports. Passengers are required to fill out an electronic health declaration before boarding and are asked to sit apart from each other onboard if possible. Temperature checks are required for every passenger and workers like cabin crew and security officers are offered protective gear. Passengers need to wear a mask throughout the flight.

Japan

The government has directed airlines to make in-flight announcements about health measures and to distribute health information cards and questionnaires. It has also asked airport staff to wear masks, but they are not mandatory for passengers. There is no requirement to keep the middle seat empty.

South Korea

The aviation regulator is requiring travellers' temperatures be checked in the airport. Airport authorities ask travellers to stand at least 1 metre apart in line, and are furnished with hand sanitiser. Korean Air Lines Co Ltd is seating passengers as far apart as possible, conducting additional temperature checks on international travellers and requiring all domestic passengers to wear masks, with a few exceptions such as children under 2 years.

Qatar

At the airport, staff and passengers are required to pass temperature checks and disinfection procedures, with high contact areas disinfected every 10 to 15 minutes. Qatar Airways is encouraging social distancing on board when possible, especially on flights with lighter loads, and will require passengers to wear masks.

bangkokpost.com
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.

 



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