Airplanes are ‘safest place’ in coronavirus: Barry Diller

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Billionaire investor Barry Diller Believes that the airline industry should do more to inform customers about the safety of air travel during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Travel companies have been hit hard over the past three months as efforts to stem the spread of the disease have prompted consumers to reduce, if not eliminate, unnecessary travel. Sales have only now started to recover as states begin to reopen from lockdowns.

“The safest place is probably on an airplane because the air is recycled, fresh air every three or four minutes, 15 or 20 times an hour,” Diller, whose IAC launched travel booking site Expedia in 2005, told FOX Business ‘ Maria Baritoromo on Thursday. “You couldn’t be in a better atmosphere than on an airplane, but people are afraid to fly.”

ticker safety Last change change %
EXPERIENCE EXPEDIA GROUP INC. 184.40 -0.66 -0.36%

Just 387,000 passengers passed through Transportation Security Administration checkpoints on Wednesday, down 85 percent from 2.5 million a year ago.

While air travel has fallen sharply, Diller doesn’t think the industry will see dramatic change as a result of COVID-19. However, he believes airlines could take lavish cleaning procedures and other preventive measures for a while.

Diller thinks mask-wearing should be “mandatory” for a while, but he doesn’t think social distancing works in highly concentrated urban areas.

“We are bursting before the reopening. It will happen,” he said.

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“The only thing that will stop its progression is if we get such an overwhelming reception, not just in terms of cases, but in terms of our services’ ability to handle the cases,” he added. “Once you start that process, you only go back if there’s a disaster.”

*This story has been updated to reflect IAC, which was spun off from Epxedia in 2005.

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