Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Covid-19 could fulfil a long-standing Kiwi-Indian dream

Despite Covid-19’s long, gloomy shadow on international travel showing no signs of abating anytime soon, this might be a good time to address one of the longest standing demands of Kiwi-Indians that has so far gone frustratingly unmet.

It’s the contentious one about direct flights between India and New Zealand.

Kiwi-Indians have been pressing for direct flights for more than a decade and have left no stone unturned in trying to pursue politicians in the two governments and the airlines of the two countries to make this happen.

Airways agreements between the two governments have been in place for a few years now, which makes flights possible but a resolution to the problem has remained elusive for a number of reasons that are mostly attributed to economic feasibility.

But this is not about discussing the merits and demerits of those arguments. Rather, this is about how Covid-19 could actually lead to direct flights between the two countries.

Though the possibility of international travel looks remote at this point in time, borders will eventually open – but things will not be the same again. One can safely say that it will not be business as usual when international travel resumes. Strict measures to eliminate or at the very least minimise the possibility of any spread of Covid-19 will be put in in the entire travel process.

One logical and fool-proof measure is to eliminate the reliance on aviation’s reliance on hub-and-spoke infrastructure as much as possible. Hub-and-spoke airports are where large numbers of people from different parts of the world briefly spend time to change planes to get to their onward destinations.
08/07/20 Dev Nadkarni/Indian Weekender

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