The bands will help the authorities to contain the spread of COVID-19
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With not much business comng in, airline companies are either shutting down, or cutting its fleet, or thinking of ways to stay afloat.
As part of the latter stream of thought, some airlines have started ‘flights to nowhere’, a concept that is catching on. Taiwan came up with a Hello Kitty themed airplane back in August to celebrate Father’s Day, and Singapore Airlines will launch a similar initiative for domestic passengers by the end of October. Qantas has also been bitten by the bug. Now we hear that India will soon hop on to this bandwagon.
Air India will take passengers who are itching for some air travel on joyrides to nowhere. Very soon, passengers can pay a hefty sum for an aerial tour of popular tourist locations in India.
As you read this article, airline officials are discussing the pricing and the spots to be covered on these ‘flights to nowhere’. In all likelihood jumbo aircrafts like the Boeing 747 will be operated for the service.
The flights will manoeuvre at Minimum Obstacle Clearance Altitude (MOCA) which is the lowest safety level for flights at which the travellers can spot the intended sites. The MOCA varies in different areas, depending on visibility and obstacles. In Mumbai, the altitude for safe flying is 3,000 feet for instance. A Boeing 747 can fly at 500 feet but the areas in which it can be allowed at such heights depend on approval from the air traffic control.
However, there are many who are cautioning against the flights.
India is still going through a surge in COVID-19 cases (many are asymptomatic). So medical professionals are citing the risks of getting on board these flights which will have many people on board. They are recommending essential travel right now, not joy rides.
Apart from the chnace of virus transmission, the ‘flights to nowhere’ also contribute to carbon emissions, say critics. A recent study found that a single round trip between Paris and New York has nearly the same carbon emissions that is emitted by a European to heat their house for a whole year. If people can stick to not flying for one year then the greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced to a large extent, environmentalists say. If the current restrictions around the world are maintained at least until the year-end, global emissions would reduce by 7.5 per cent at most.
The different ways a desperate aviation industry is trying to generate revenues include dining experiences inside airline-themed cafeterias, and tours of airports and flight operations.
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