The coronavirus pandemic could force the retirement of the B747 and A380 by dropping stopover flights. Passengers will want to spend as little time as possible traveling. This is the opinion of Rod Eddington, former CEO of British Airways.
According to Eddington, although leisure flying will return eventually, passengers will want to spend as little time as possible on a plane, and added that this is going to mark the end of large aircrafts such as the Boeing 747 and the Airbus 380. “They are going to be parked up against the fence,” he says.
Worse Crisis Than 9/11
Eddington headed British Airways during the 9/11 attacks - specifically, from 2000 to 2005 - the last major aviation crisis, now surpassed by the COVID-19 pandemic in which many find similarities; particularly, how both have changed the aspects of the industry forever.
However, the former chief, now chair of government body Infrastructure Australia, also believes that leisure flights will eventually return.
"I think there’s an insatiable demand for people to travel,” he says. “I think people will be anxious for a while. But if we get a vaccine, people will be back to normal in a year.”
In the meantime, Eddington thinks that the low-cost carriers will go through a hard time because they are not getting the government money that the national ones are, such as Lufthansa and Air France-KLM; although he also believes that these cut-price airlines have two advantages: first, the lower cost base means they can drop fares quickly, while also flying on new routes whenever they see a gap; and second, low-cost airlines have relatively short flights, so passengers will choose them for a while since the less time passengers spend on a plane, the safer they’ll be from an infection.