Joe McClain - May 25, 2020

There is currently a great deal of uncertainty about air traffic. What measures can be expected onboard? What will the air travel experience be like? One question that the experts address now is the “Minimal Connecting Time” (MCT), the shortest possible transfer time at an airport. How will Corona-related hygiene safety measures slow down the processes?

The data analytics company OAG has calculated how extended MCT times will affect the global connectivity of flight routes. It is assumed that the increased cleaning measures and stricter health checks of passengers will slow down the processes substantially.

The 20-minute turnarounds, one of the pillars of many low-cost airlines, are at risk. Sooner or later the MCT, an essential part of flight planning and for reasonable flight bookings, will also be affected and it will pose a lot of problems for all the stakeholders.

The current default time for changing from international to domestic is 45 minutes, while from international to international it is set at 90 minutes.

The calculation is quick: with the longer MCTs, the number of possible connections was reduced by 18.1%. Extrapolated to the 50 largest airports in the world, this loss would be equivalent to 70 million fewer passengers. For airlines, this would also mean that airplanes which can fly up to 5 rotations per day, would only do so 4 times now. This would signify a loss of capacity and associated job losses. Unless airports can extend the operating hours.

The so-called “waves” at airports would have to be rescheduled, especially since the start and destination had to be adjusted. With fewer transport options, the value of slots at the airports in high demand is likely to increase. If more passengers have to wait longer at airports, infrastructural adjustments may be required as well.

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