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IATA: Mandating middle seats empty would increase airfares 43%-54%
07 May 2020 (Edited 07 May 2020)

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In press release the International Air Transport Association - the global airline trade organization - has said it favors the wearing of masks by airline crews and face coverings by passengers as a measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but opposes any regulation that would require airlines to leave middle seats empty .

Quoting from the IATA release:

"Evidence suggests that the risk of transmission on board aircraft is low. Mask-wearing by passengers and crew will reduce the already low risk, while avoiding the dramatic cost increases to air travel that onboard social distancing measures would bring...

"Moreover, even if implemented keeping the ‘middle seat’ open will not provide the recommended separation for social distancing to be effective. Most authorities recommend 1m-2m while the average seat width is less than 50 cm...

"The long-term solutions for COVID-19 depend on medical science...

"Calls for social distancing measures on aircraft would fundamentally shift the economics of aviation by slashing the maximum load factor to 62%. That is well below the average industry breakeven load factor of 77%...

"With fewer seats to sell, unit costs would rise sharply. Compared to 2019, air fares would need to go up dramatically�"between 43% and 54% depending on the region�"just to break even..."

David Boggs President/CEO ACRO Global|Publisher Tourism Marketer
David H. Boggs
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