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Woman Sentenced to Two Years in Prison for Outburst That Forced Fighter Jet Escort

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A British woman who was issued a lifetime ban and billed more than $100,000 by low-cost carrier Jet2 following a drunken outburst aboard a flight from London to Turkey last year has been sentenced to two years in jail.

Citing the U.K.’s PA Media news agency reports, CNN reported that 26-year-old Chloe Haines mixed alcohol and medication before becoming disruptive, attempting to open the plane’s door and ultimately forcing a pair of Royal Air Force fighter jets to spring into action and escort the aircraft back to London Stansted Airport on June 22, 2019, causing a sonic boom above Essex, England.

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“Ms. Haines’ behavior was one of the most serious cases of disruptive passenger behavior that we have experienced, and we have banned her from flying with us for life,” said Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays in a statement.

During sentencing, Judge Charles Gratwicke said that “those that are trapped in the confined space of the aircraft will inevitably be distressed, frightened and petrified by the actions of those who in a drunken state endanger their lives.”

“For some, it will be their worst nightmare come true,” he added.

Haines’ sentencing comes just two weeks after a drunk passenger forced an easyJet flight to make an emergency landing in Scotland and only one month after a new international treaty to improve prosecution of unruly airline passengers went into effect.

“We have been leading the industry to tackle the issue of drinking to excess in the airport before flying, as well as the illicit consumption of duty-free alcohol on board the aircraft, for some time,” added Heapy via CNN. “As another busy summer approaches, we look forward to continuing to work with the government and our partners across the industry to ensure that everyone has an enjoyable and comfortable journey without the minority spoiling it.”

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

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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.”

This post was published by our news partner: TravelPulse.com | Article Source

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