Aerial sightseeing has become very popular as several nations still have travel restrictions on incoming arrivals
It began with some intrepid folks chartering planes to fly around. Then airlines such as Singapore Airlines and Australia’s Qantas caught wind of the idea and ran with it. What are we talking about? The concept of “flights to nowhere in particular” seems to have taken off, literally. Qantas’ recent trip, involving low-flying, aerial survey of the Great Barrier Reef, was sold out. Airlines are happy as this allows them to fly their aircraft relatively full, thus keeping some jobs safe and their expensive assets, the planes themselves, flying. Of course, scenic flights that operate in and out of the same airport are not a new concept. Qantas itself has run seasonal flights to Antarctica for several years every southern summer. But 2020, as we all know, is not like any other year, with several nations still putting travel restrictions on incoming arrivals, some not even allowing non-citizens to return and others instituting strict quarantine regulations, even for travel within a country.
As a result the global aviation business is hurting, thousands of pilots, cabin crew, ground crew and aircraft maintenance engineers have already lost jobs and unless things change dramatically, several thousand more will lose their jobs in the coming months. Many airlines have already shut for good and many more are in deep financial distress. It is not a good time to be an airline or be employed by one. So yes, while these flights of fancy might seem extravagant and a waste of money and resources, even adding pollution, their popularity means that airlines will probably survive as well as regain some overall confidence in flying. Let us not forget, these flights are being bought by people, who after six months of being grounded, want to get back in the air. They want to experience airport security and airline food for better or for worse. The very frequent flyer might have celebrated the first couple of months of no flying but almost every single person in that category misses that experience now and these flights, pointless as they might seem, allow these people to get a fix. There are many willing to take off in India as well and maybe a scenic flight or two around the Himalayas or the wonderful coastal areas may not be a bad idea here.
(Courtesy: The Pioneer)