Among the many things we have missed since the pandemic began, travel has been one of the most notable. Whether it's for business, to visit distant family members or just to get away from our now familiar surroundings, many of us have longed to return to air travel.
Flight is one of the safest activities people can engage in ( see infographic ). But new concerns are being raised about the risks that arise in a world after COVID-19.
The risks highlighted in a new report from the Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) include "rusty" pilots, "air race", new aircraft, and even insect infestations.
The industry is slowly recovering and the AGCS notes that the airline team has stepped up to ensure that air travel remained safe, despite redundancies, economic battles and pressure from a transition to night work to telework.
"But as more aircraft return to the sky," the report says, "there has been much discussion about the dangers that may arise from such an unprecedented period, as well as some of the changes that the sector will see."  Earlier this year, it was reported that dozens of pilots had reported the Aviation Safety Reporting System by mistake after climbing back into the cockpit. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) watchdog system, operated by NASA, enables pilots and crew members to anonymously report mechanical and human errors.
"Many of the pilots mentioned 'rustiness' as a cause of the incidents after returning to heaven after months of lockdown," reports the AGCS. "Although there have been no reported incidents of pilot pilots causing accidents that injured passengers, mistakes were reported: forgetting to disengage the parking brake at takeoff, making three attempts to land the plane on a windy day, choosing the wrong course, and forgetting to put on the ice-forming mechanism that prevents altitude and air velocity sensors from freezing. "
At the top of the first wave of the crisis, airlines parked around two-thirds of the total global fleet. mothballed.
"This unsurpassed situation has resulted in a host of new challenges," writes the AGCS. "Loss exposures do not just disappear when aircraft are parked."
Rather, the risks and their costs change.The AGCS refers to the fear of damage among grounded aircraft during thunderstorms in Texas that shook the region with hail in golf ball size.
Aircraft are large and tricky to maneuver on the ground, and ground incidents can result in costly When operators transferred fleets from runways to storage facilities at the beginning of the pandemic, a number of collisions occurred, so it would not be surprising to see more such incidents when aircraft are moved in preparation for reuse.
The European Union Aviation Safety Agency has reported "an alarming trend … of unreliable speed and altitude indications "related to accumulations of foreign objects, such as insect nests in areas of aircraft providing flight critical air data information.
" This has led to a number of rejected take-off and approach events, "the agency reports.  On the other hand, because many escape gbolag has retired larger aircraft earlier than planned due to COVID-19, there will be many newer aircraft on the runways and in the air, which presents its own challenges from an insurance coverage perspective. As we have written before, more modern aircraft are more expensive to repair or replace when an incident occurs, leading to more expensive damage.
Air violence increases
In May 2021, a caretaker of a flight attendant at Southwest Airlines had two teeth knocked out after a fight with a passenger over wearing a mask – the latest in a pile of much talked about incidents that prompted the FAA to issue a warning about an increase in anxious or dangerous behavior. Recently, a flight from American Airlines to the Bahamas was canceled when some of a group of high school students refused to wear masks.
In a typical year in the United States, there tend not to be more than 150 reports of serious onboard disruption, says the AGCS report — but by June 2021, that number had already reached about 3,000, including about 2,300 involving passengers who refused to follow the federal mandate to wear a mask during the trip.
Few COVID-19 claims
The aviation industry has so far seen few claims directly related to the pandemic, says the AGCS and also notes a reduction in slip and fall losses at airports due to the reduced number of passengers during pandemic. Such claims are expected to return to more typical levels as people resume travel, and insurers need to be aware of new hazards that may affect the damage experience.