One of the greatest achievements by the aviation industry has been the creation of cheap flights that have allowed an unprecedented number of individuals to be able to travel across the world. The sheer impact in this has been hidden by the power of the internet to connect individuals around the world and the fact that many had just assumed the ability to travel. Covid19 has been the first real disruption to world travel where people have actually not been able to move around. Even in the economic crisis of the past, if an individual wished and had the resources, they could travel. Many of the rich feel like global citizens and move around the world with ease, with residences in areas that they want for a certain purpose. While the rich have certainly seen the most benefit, it is not unheard of to have someone go on a holiday to a faraway place, and this has been a status that some of the working and middle class have embraced. However, as governments look to new travel restrictions and the number of companies decreases, a growing feeling that some should prevented is in the halls of power. People may be equal in their need to take personal actions and guilt, but equal access to one of the most powerful abilities of the modern world is increasingly becoming thought of, as negative or unneeded.
Security Over Movement
Concerns over the security of travel have only been steadily growing. This has been due to the numerous attacks that have occurred on airlines and the fear that these will only keep increasing. Border protection and issues around borders have also become a more sensitive argument. Even within the European Union that points to the benefits of free movement, these bonds are being strained. The United Kingdom leaving the EU can be view as the influence of immigration being influential despite other issues being raised. In the US illegal immigration has become a hot button issue with numerous solutions being pitched, but consensus that ignoring the problem is no longer acceptable. Even outside of the Western world many countries have growing concerns about the flow of people through their borders. Covid19 has shown that a shutdown of travel can occur quickly and most likely has taught nations how to better stop people coming into the country and moving around it. The lessons learnt by governments would allow them to better apply these policies outside of the pandemic.
This also goes well with growing concerns about foreign nationals conducting espionage operations. While this may have thought as being some part of the Cold War, they are very present in the modern-day. Arrest and charges have been made in the United States with China also detaining individuals in retaliation for those efforts. These growing concerns about China have reached across the world with numerous nations banning Chinese government linked companies for working on infrastructures such as the brand new 5G technologies and other critical communications. Perhaps the ease of which people could visit Western nations will be reduced as individuals are looked over to limit the amount of threat that they can pose. For Counter Terrorism, this is already a reality. How severe this ends up is also something that remains unknown with the possibility that this will be extended to concerns around propaganda or cultural attacks. How this will be paired with concerns around freedom of speech is also unknown. Although many governments have shown reluctance or opposition to enshrining protections.
Travel Lockdowns For Some
Lockdown has become known for the fact that travel has been prevented. Yet it was not the cost of travelling or the lockdowns themselves that prevented the rich from moving. Indeed when they tried to move around the world, notable changes where made to make sure that they did not have to face the measures that ordinary people went through. It was the fear of social shaming that kept them at home with no real reason being possible to justify not going along with the measures. A culture developed that forced people to stay home. However, as Covid19 has seemed to get less terrible, it has become more acceptable for the rich to travel with some even trying to change the narrative, to they are saving the industries. The influencer networks would most likely hope that it comes back soon as well.
If the masses did not travel then the experience for the rich would get better as services will not have to deal with the same strain. Naturally, price increase should be expected. However, this could be justified under a Covid recovery and the new Covid normal. New changes are going to occur anyway, and bigger changes and refocusing can be done at the same time. The time period being used to justify these changes. How this is sold to the public is unknown. If the airlines move towards exclusivity, then having good relations with the general public becomes less important. If the general public ceases to be customers, then they cease to be important.
Unable To Do Its Role
A concerning possibility is that the sector collapses during this time. Even before the pandemic some serious concerns existed within the sector that a collapse was getting closer. This might see a change of boarding practices and also flight systems. Budget airlines will most likely not be able to adjust to this. When this happens the airline sector may unintentionally move away from becoming attached at the hip to the holiday market. The longer this lasts the more individuals will turn alternatives for their holidays. Faraway places may return to being viewed as out of reach. Perhaps this change will be embraced as local economies gain from this. Funds and people also no longer need to deal with the hard and nasty sides of international travel. Regionalism may be embraced more fully.
The future of the airline industry like many other sector is looking uncertain. However it is quite possible that it will never go back to what it was before. Changes to many sectors are occurring and these will need to be watched with some concern. Many groups are seeking to change the future and they will use this time to push heavily for their agendas. If your outside of that agenda this is the time they push you away.