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U.S. pilots union asks government to subsidize empty seats on planes

 A major U.S. pilots union said on Wednesday it has begun discussing with key lawmakers a plan for the government to purchase seats on each flight to prevent passengers from having to sit next to strangers.
The idea, launched by the Allied Pilots Association (APA) representing American Airlines’ 15,000 pilots, is aimed at easing a return to pre-pandemic passenger levels while creating a level playing field across the airline industry.
As of now, some but not all U.S. airlines are blocking middle seats or capping the number of seats they are selling on each flight in order to allow for more space between passengers.
Air travel has dropped dramatically in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement, APA President Eric Ferguson said uniform social distancing would encourage passengers to fly more and airlines to operate more flights, thus preserving more jobs in the critical aviation industry.
Under the plan, the price of empty seats would be based on industry average costs for 2019, and as immunity to COVID-19 rose, the number of empty seats bought by the government would fall.
Stakeholders in the Nigerian aviation sector have said the campaign to remove middle seats is uneconomical to airlines, would make passengers pay way more and is totally unnecessary since aircraft come fitted with High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter which  sanitizes air in the cabin of aircraft.This is just as only six Nigerian airlines are said have passed the air worthiness threshold while only three others have submitted their financial health status according to officials of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority.

Stakeholders in the industry recently in a virtual meeting titled Nigerian Aviation Stakeholders Rub Minds on ‘Status of Industry Restart’ sought the best way to restart the industry with various players providing their ideas.

Chief Executive Officer of Air Peace, Allen Onyema while making an argument against the removal of middle seats reasoned that purchasing power of average Nigerian is low, giving a scenario where the airlines will need to transfer the fares on the middle seats on passenger tickets.

He submitted that the move will discourage people from flying which is against the idea of the restart in the first place stating that if people do not fly, airlines will die.



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