COVID-19 pushes airlines to be more convenient and creative

TD Editor

COVID-19 has caused a lot of anxiety and upends the travel industry. Now that we see countries reopening to international travellers, airlines are looking for creative ways to instil confidence to travellers to book that flight.

Recently, Etihad Airways has joined forces with Mediclinic for convenient home PCR testing in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This will enable UAE-based travellers a convenient COVID-19 PCR testing service at their home, or at a Mediclinic facility, prior to their travel.

Some destinations may require a negative COVID-19 PCR test result before departure that, along with other health requirements, added a step in order for us to fly.

Mathew George, aerospace & defense analyst at GlobalData, said: “Etihad Airways’ new scheme will bring customers back and help rebuild confidence in air travel for customers, governments and staff on these aircraft. With increased safety and hygiene measures, reduction of capacity and facilities to deal with social distancing, airlines now have to differentiate their offerings to highlight the safety of their services.

“Etihad’s collaboration will allow customers to have all the required documents when traveling to certain destinations. Creating that space where customers trust their airlines is a major exercise with companies often sharing videos and information on regular cleaning, sanitization and onboard filtration services being highlighted. While we will have to wait a bit more to see how these steps will change the offerings available to customers, it looks positive in the short-term.

“Emirates has also taken some precautions by providing a complimentary travel hygiene kit containing gloves, a face mask, antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer, as well as requiring all of its staff to wear PPE.”

According to GlobalData, 45% of Generation X in the UAE remain ‘extremely concerned’ about COVID-19. Generation X is more risk averse than younger generations due to greater concerns surrounding health and safety. Within this demographic, over a third of respondents ‘strongly agree’ they have had to change or cancel upcoming domestic (22%) and international (38%) plans. Providing PPE equipment, and giving access to and necessary insight and updates on measures to mitigate COVID-19 and ensure high standards of hygiene will benefit carriers in the coming months.

Aside from highlighting their new health and safety protocols, airlines are also pushing out deals to encourage travellers to book that flight. Knowing that they are at the forefront of reigniting the travel industry, airlines are striving to provide a “safer” kind of seamless travel to consumers.

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