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At the Dubai International Airport.

PHOTO BY ARCHIVE


Dubai Airports CEO warns ticket prices will be 4 times higher

 

DUBAI – Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths warned that airfares might have to increase by up to four times if social distancing rules are implemented on airplanes.

“People will be paying three or four times the current ticket prices. I don’t think that’s going to be a sustainable position, which is why we need a longer-term solution that doesn’t involve social distancing,” Griffiths told CNN.

Griffiths discussed the challenges of testing for coronavirus in airports, with hope for faster methods being developed, “If each of those passengers needs to wait ten minutes before the result is there, again that’s a further limit on our capacity. I think there are techniques being developed that will take that pre-flight testing to a much, much quicker result.”

In terms of its impact on the industry, Griffiths believes coronavirus is unparalleled, “We’ve got every single aspect of the supply chain, demand, public health, and it being a global phenomenon. This is unprecedented in terms of the impact it’s had on travel and tourism and the global economy.”

One idea being suggested to restart the tourism industry is for reciprocal transport “bubbles” or “corridors” to be established between countries.

Griffiths suggested that countries who locked down quickly may be in a better position to form these agreements, “Governments that have taken early action, such as the UAE government, and have got the virus under control, will be in a very good position to negotiate bilateral relationships with other countries that are in a similar position.”

Griffiths talks to CNN on the future of the airline industry amid the Covid-19 pandemic:

On reducing the capacity of airplanes

It’s not going to be economically sustainable for many to operate with that sort of capacity restriction.

How social distancing will affect prices

If an airline leaves the ground with thirty people on it, and a capacity of two hundred, then you’ve still got the same level of fuel burn, you’ve still got the staff costs, and everything’s the same. And at the end of the day, if you then have to put that into ticket prices, people will be paying three or four times the current ticket prices. I don’t think that’s going to be a sustainable position, which is why we need a longer-term solution that doesn’t involve social distancing.

Testing in airports

If each of those passengers needs to wait ten minutes before the result is there, again that’s a further limit on our capacity. I think there are techniques being developed that will take that pre-flight testing to a much, much quicker result.

On the unparalleled nature of the coronavirus crisis

We’ve got every single aspect of the supply chain, demand, public health, and it being a global phenomenon. This is unprecedented in terms of the impact it’s had on travel and tourism and the global economy.

On travel agreements

Governments that have taken early action, such as the UAE government, and have got the virus under control, will be in a very good position to negotiate bilateral relationships with other countries that are in a similar position.

On future travel demand

We expect to be back to hopefully delivering 90 to a 100 million passengers in terms of capacity, we just hope that the demand will actually follow and enable us to operate at that level at some stage in the future.

CNN/Expat Media


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