Ready to take off? This year will mark the beginning of the vaccination campaign against Covid. Some European countries, like the UK, are already vaccinating their population, but there’s still a long way to go before we have a complete rollout and the entire world population is vaccinated.
So what does that mean for aviation?
We know that it is safer to get on a plane than to visit our local supermarket. Last year, I wrote an article about the special Hepa filters used in aviation and how these filters clean and replace the air in the cabin, every few minutes. But is this enough to start the flights? I would say it helps for sure, but there are a few more things that need to happen before we can say we are ready to take off.
One of those things is international borders open, allowing people to travel. Some Governments are not confident it is the time to do it yet. Although others have had them open all along. It is a sensitive issue; on one hand, you got the devastated aviation industry, where thousands of jobs were lost. On the other hand, you got the need to protect the population and stop the spreading. It is a balancing act and Governments have a very difficult task in hand.
The vaccines are out, but it will take a while before we reach herd immunity. This will be a second layer of protection and reassurance that the spreading is under control. At the moment, in some countries, like Australia, those who arrive in the country, need to go through 14 days of quarantine. If herd immunity is reached, these rules may be relaxed and people have more freedom.
For that, the vaccines must have been rolled out in the whole global population and herd immunity must be verified. Then, we may be ready to take off.
We know it’s safe, but in a pandemic, everyone is a bit on edge and have difficulty believing companies. After all, they want to sell tickets and make money. So, I think we need to re-establish consumer confidence.
In the meantime…
Airlines are implementing a covid passport system, where you need to prove you are not infected and you have taken the vaccine. This is a very good option that may just get us ready to take off again.