Ryanair’s boss: social distancing on planes is idiotic

Michael O’Leary, Ryanair’s mouthy boss, put it best: social distancing on planes is idiotic. That is of little consequence to frustrated holidaymakers and business travellers desperate to visit their villas in the south of France for the same cost as their trips last year. Biomedically and financially, keeping middle seats empty in planes is up there with chocolate teapots. Suppose — wildly — that social distancing worked in a confined space and that rampant toddlers kept to their seats and everyone wiped down overhead luggage after every use. The two-metre restriction would mean losing more than middle seats; passengers could no longer be close to those behind or in front of them either. On some industry estimates that means emptying seven seats per passenger… In order to square on-board social distancing with profitability, airlines would need to jack up ticket prices threefold… Of course, the more prices rise, the fewer the passengers… When BA listed in 1987, after a torrid period fraught with losses and litigation, UK institutional investors were “unenthusiastic”… As then, another round of severe restructuring is required. Some painful steps, such as mass job cuts and bankruptcies, have already begun. That will set the stage for a slow recovery — at least until the next crisis strikes.