(Apr 25): Higher fares, fewer routes, pre-flight health checks and less free food: The coronavirus pandemic is ushering in a new era of air travel.

A seismic shift is underway as the world’s airlines reassess their operations and how they will look emerging from the crisis. At eerily empty airports, mask-wearing and social distancing already show a behavioural change among the few staff and travellers left. A long shakeup lies ahead that is set to touch almost every aspect of flying after limits on movement unwind.

“We should be prepared for a choppy, sluggish recovery even after the virus is contained,” Delta Air Lines Inc. Chief Executive Officer Ed Bastian said in a letter to employees this week. “I estimate the recovery period could take two to three years.”

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