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Hood’s Winks – Back to normal

By Ralph Hood

We will get back to normal, but it will be a new—and strange—normal.

I recently retired from writing about aviation, but, by golly, the shutdown/lockdown made me wonder—what will airlines do to survive? That’s when I requested a meeting with Gene Cossey, Executive Director of Tri-Cities Regional Airport.

Mr. Cossey made me feel better because he believes air travel will survive and thrive in the long run. Also, our government has chipped in big bucks to help airports in the short run. The best news is that people like Gene Cossey are working hard to support airports and air travel.

Airline customers are few these days, and nobody can be certain they will return anytime soon.

Right now, airlines have parked a high percentage of their aircraft. That’s not cheap, but it’s necessary. It means they will fly their more efficient airplanes that can operate with fewer paying passengers. Delta Airlines, for example, plans to stop operating their MD-80 aircraft, perhaps forever.

When will we return to normal? I dunno.

Jet airliners have been around for decades. Many think they will be/should be replaced by new models.

Electric airplanes—many believe—may grow with the help of new batteries from Elon Musk et al. I’m one of those who thinks/hopes this will happen in the near future.

Drones—with no pilots on board—will improve and spread out. They already deliver packages and fly some people. Might drones replace autos? Can you imagine calling for a drone which will take you to the supermarket? Well, many people quickly adapted to Uber or Lyft. Who needs a car?

People began working at home during the pandemic. Some quickly learned that they like working from home. Employers find it profitable. Offices will still exist, they say, but will be smaller. Computers—as my brother would tell you—make it possible to work anywhere at anytime. I, too, have worked at home—and on the road—since the mid-1980s. Think of the money saved by not driving to an office?

People my age (79) will probably never get used to the new normal. No problem, the young folk will adapt quickly, while wondering how we old folk ever lived with the old normal.

Life is exciting!