PLANE passengers could face a four-hour wait to get airborne, a reduced schedule and prices hiked up in a post-lockdown world.

Air travel could become more of a luxury as airlines sticking to distancing rules may need to pull up the fares to cover the cost of less travellers.

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People could be forced to have pre-flight health check ups to ensure they are fighting fit before going abroad.

And travellers may need to all wear masks or cover their faces with scarves to prevent any spread of coronavirus.

These extreme measures could be in place for the next five years, experts warned, as the world reels with the effect of the deadly pandemic.

Whizz Air is due to start commercial flights again on Friday – one of the first to do so – meaning others will surely follow suit soon.

Anyone travelling onboard one of their planes must wear a face covering and will be kept distanced from others as they fly.

Social distancing rules could mean airlines can only fill 20 per cent of their flights.

But because it is only when a plane is 80 per cent full that airlines recoup their costs, airfares could be significantly raised.

Air travel has been an industry extremely hard hit by the pandemic as the majority of planes have been grounded.


British Airways this week revealed it is feared 12,000 workers may have to be made redundant, as the airline struggles to keep afloat.

And Virgin Atlantic has asked the Government for a £500million bailout.

Andrew Charlton, managing director of Aviation Advocacy told The Times: "Even if it starts raining vaccines tonight, we are still looking at two years at least to get back to levels seen before the outbreak.

"And it is probably going to be more like five years.

"There will be fewer flights, fewer seats available, prices will go up and there will be very uncomfortable conditions because of the demand to wear personal protective equipment and maintain social distancing."

It comes as:

  • Kids face long delays before schools return
  • Cancer deaths could rocket by 18,000 with treatments delayed
  • Deaths in care homes soar
  • Nurse begs 'don't let me die' in coronavirus diary
  • OAP couple die from covid-19 hours apart as husband refuses treatment

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