PHOENIX - The airline industry has been hit hard before, like 911 and the great recession, but nothing like how COVID-19 has impacted the business.
The industry as a whole expects to lose $300 billion by the end of the year after expanding rapidly over the past decade.
So what will things look like when people start to travel again?
For starters, there could be required health certificates or screenings before passengers climb on board a metal tube with recycled air and strangers all around.
“I think anything with the airlines and airports can do to help people feel better they’ve got financial incentive to do that,” said Adam Silva, airline pilot.
On the airplanes we may see social distancing with mandatory empty middle seats for a while. Planes cleaned after every flight instead of after every day.
Flight attendants may be in masks and gloves handing out prepackaged meals.
“We need some guidelines and should be international across all airports and all airlines to make it easier on the traveler," SAID Dr. Ahmed Abdelghany, Aviation expert with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
Ultimately it’ll be up to passengers to decide when they feel safe to fly. By then, expect more mergers, new partnerships and smaller rivals fading away sending the once soaring industry back in time at least for the next few years.
“I personally believe based on peoples' attention span and memories that this will be old news six months after it’s over and it’ll be up to the individual consumer to decide he wants to fly or not and take that risk in the end that’s what’s going to occur," says aviation attorney, Michael Pearson.