Aviation: The New Normal

There is light for aviation at the end of the tunnel, but the new (current) normal will stick around until scientists find two things: A treatment and a vaccine.

I have been in self-quarantine since March 6, 2020. Like many of you, I have pondered on many of the questions that have been swirling around. This new standard has caught us by surprise as we are social creatures that seek interaction. However, we do have an advantage over other species, and that is the benefit of adapting.

While our starting journey was fraught with problems, we knew what to do and how to get there. This article is a glimpse of the new standard. As a species rest assured that like everything else we will overcome this.

current aviation normal, Los Angeles
Clean air over Los Angeles has become part of the new normal, as a result of fewer pollutants and cars on the road in the city. Here, after departure from LAX, overlooking the shoreline of the Palo Verdes Peninsula with San Pedro and Long Beach.

Airlines will require masks and likely test people before going!

We are seeing in the TSA Checkpoint travels numbers that the United States never went below 85,000 passengers. Currently, we have around 155 thousand passengers braving the conditions.

I expect those numbers to increase, albeit slowly, since getting to 2.5 million passengers (like 2019) will take time.

According to a Fox report, all US airlines will require masks. Legacy carriers like Alaska, American, Delta, Southwest, United, and low costs like Frontier, JetBlue and Spirit will require masks to be worn on flights before passengers travel by mid-May.

Overseas carriers in Canada are mandated by the government to utilize masks in flight. Malaysia last week took Canada’s route, and South Korea mandates passengers to have coverings. Korean Air provides protective equipment for those who don’t have their own.

The Lufthansa Group comprised of Austrian, Lufthansa, and Swiss Airlines will require face coverings after the fourth of this month.

The aviation new normal at Emirates

Emirates Airlines has become the premier airline testing for antibodies. Test results are available within 10 minutes for flights departing Dubai. This could become the template for airlines and health departments/companies worldwide.

Video: Emirates/YouTube.

Airport transitions are different

Most airports would have a list of restrictions. However, they will continue to stay open, but with one important exception:

Latin/South America in Lockdown

The Ministro Pistarini International Airport (EZE), the international airport serving Buenos Aires, is closed until September except for repatriation and cargo flights.

This caused outrage within the group that lobbies on behalf of airlines, the Latin American and Caribbean Transport Association (ALTA). They say it poses an “imminent and substantial risk” to thousands of jobs in the country, according to Reuters.

Neighboring countries, like Peru, Colombia, and Ecuador, have banned commercial flights too. However, their restrictions coincide with other orders and bans, which only last through the month.

As stated in previous posts, not only our health is at stake but the economic well-being of entire countries and regions as well. The Latin/South America region is the latest region to feel its catastrophic effects.

Europe thinking of opening airports

EU ministers are mulling a “corona-corridor” between individuals members if reaching the EU level cannot succeed. Croatia, Austria, and Germany are in coordination, according to the Telegram.

The Eurostar (train service) is on limited service and only operate every two-three days. British Airways and Air France fly between Charles de Gaulle and London, according to La Connexion (French newspaper).

However, it doesn’t mean there are passengers on airlines; at least not yet!

new normal of aviation, turbulence ahead
There is still plenty of turbulence ahead for aviation.

The Bailouts frenzy for Europe has begun. While the American counterparts are slashing and dicing routes to survive, European Airlines are begging the national governments a hand in tough times.

  • Alitalia, as I mentioned previously in another article, is not going to get any investment by Delta. Instead, Alitalia is going to be nationalized.
  • Air France and KLM are at risk of divesting and calling it a day.
  • Virgin Atlantic isn’t getting any Delta-investment either. The airline is on its way into voluntary administration (restructuring).
  • TAP Portugal is close to getting half its government as a joint partner 50-50%.
  • South African Airways has already ceased operations.
  • Indian carriers Spicejet and IndiGogo are in the red and likely to go into administration.
  • Porter in Canada is grounded until the end of June.
  • Avianca (in South America) has open the door to partial government ownership as they may not survive either.
aviation current normal covid-19
Palos Verdes Peninsula, Los Angeles, with LAX next to the shoreline in the 10 o’clock position.

Bottom Line

The New Normal is taking shape, but to get back to the usual business requires more on the health front:

There are 7 candidates for a vaccine. If there are no development problems (which are highly doubtful) we could see a vaccine by January next year.

I tend to have expectations lower than POTUS but I have to say that I appreciate his enthusiasm as the days get longer.

What do you feel about aviation’s new (current) normal? Or, what will the new normal be for aviation after a successful vaccine has been developed? You can leave your comments for Alex Martinez Rivera here.

All images: Taken by different photographers, provided for use by

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