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Passengers Left on Sweltering Plane for Hours



It was 101.7 degrees in Cambridge, England last week, a one-day national record.

National records were also set in Begijnendijk, Belgium, at 107.2; Gilze-Rijen, Netherlands, at 105.3 degrees; and Lingen, Germany, where it rose to 108.7 degrees on one day last week.

And in Paris? A record 110 degrees.

But nowhere was it hotter—physically, emotionally and mentally—than on an Aer Lingus plane that sat on a tarmac in Lyon, France, for hours with no air conditioning before the flight was finally canceled.

Passengers flying to Dublin suffered that fate on July 23 according to the July 28 edition of Dublin Live.

Passengers—including several children and seniors—spent more than three hours on the tarmac due to what the airline described as a technical problem. The pilot initially said he was trying to restart the engines, but passengers were eventually told to exit the aircraft, and the flight was canceled.

One passenger told Dublin Live: “Aer Lingus must be ashamed of the way they treated their customers on the Lyon-Dublin flight. They left 200 passengers in a plane without air conditioning and during a heatwave with babies and seniors are on board.”

Aer Lingus put passengers up in a hotel with a rescheduled flight for the next morning, but even that was canceled.

A spokeswoman for Aer Lingus told Dublin Live: “Aer Lingus flight EI553 operating Lyon-Dublin on 23 July was canceled due to a technical issue with the aircraft. Guests remained on board while our team on the ground carried out the necessary maintenance checks. Regrettably the aircraft was deemed unserviceable and the flight was canceled as a result. Guests were provided with meal vouchers and overnight accommodation as required.

“Our Guest Relations team have been re-accommodating those impacted on the next available flights within our European network and our partner airlines. We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience this has caused.”

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Expect Airlines to Supply Fewer Options and Higher Fares After COVID-19



While many in the air travel industry are, of course, hoping for a swift and complete rebound in passenger traffic once the COVID-19 crisis finally comes under control, others aren’t as optimistic.

In fact, aviation analysts are saying that the diminished demand for air travel brought on by the coronavirus pandemic will likely persist for quite some time, even once the threat of contagion has passed.

CNN Business’ coverage looked back at the commercial aviation industry’s path to recovery after the 9/11 attacks in 2001, pointing out that passenger traffic didn’t fully bounce back until 2004. And, in the wake of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, it wasn’t until 2013 that passenger traffic again reached the levels seen in 2007, just prior to the recession. The slumps seen in air traffic during those two crises were just a fraction of what the world has witnessed over the past four weeks.

It’s likely to take a long time for passenger air traffic to rebound from this unprecedented downturn, even once people are able to start flying again. As airlines resume operations, they’ll be selective about the routes they maintain and reduce frequency in order to fill more seats per plane, which will lead to higher fares than were seen before the crisis.

Chief credit analyst for airlines for S&P Global, Philip Baggaley, explained that, as airlines return fewer planes to service and fill those in operation to maximum capacity, many of the low-costs seats that fliers once enjoyed booking will vanish. “Fewer seats flying means fewer cheap seats at the margin,” he said.

“There’s going to be fewer airplanes. That means less flying,” industry consultant, Mike Boyd, told CNN Business. “So, there’s going to be less choice, and you’ll be paying more. There’s no way around that.”

Historically, major economic blows to the industry have resulted in bankruptcies and mergers for the airlines. Prior to the 9/11 attacks, there had been nine major U.S. carriers, which afterward merged into today’s four major carriers, which last year accounted for 80 percent of passengers flown aboard U.S. airlines: American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines.

It’s possible, then, that a new wave of airline failures and mergers is on the horizon, especially given that the $50-billion federal bailout promised to the industry won’t even cover the near-$65 billion in revenue that U.S. airlines would have otherwise collected, even if they only matched last year’s numbers.

“In the near term, we’re going to see a shakeout,” said Joe Schwieterman, a transportation expert and professor at DePaul University in Chicago. “The weaker players may not survive this. Most industry leaders are expecting a long, painful recovery.”

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