Commenting as Easyjet announced it would resume flights next month,
Professor Loizos Heracleous, an aviation industry expert at Warwick Business School, said:
“Airlines will face a number of challenges as they resume flights. For example, if governments require them to observe social distancing rules on planes, that would mean middle seats are left empty.
“This would reduce capacity and lead to an increase in ticket prices. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), prices would have to rise by 40-50 per cent, just for airlines to break even.
“The good news for airlines is that they will benefit from lower oil prices and research is already under way that may enable equipment to sniff out coronavirus before passengers board.
“Airlines have been forced to conserve cash to survive, cutting flights, reducing their workforce, and postponing capital investment. However, social habits including the urge to travel have not changed. Provided we find ways to control the virus, through testing, treatment or a vaccine, the industry should be back to pre-pandemic levels within two to three years.
“Aviation is too essential to wither. It is here to stay and the market system is resilient enough to ensure the industry thrives after this temporary setback.”0