The aviation industry is one of the most hit industries by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the onset of the pandemic, leisure travel, business travel or any type of air travel was curtailed and planes grounded.
In less than a year, the pandemic has emptied its finances, deprived it of passengers and left it at the mercy of a global recession. During the post- COVID vaccine period, most industry analysts are wondering whether the industry will ever return to the pre-pandemic levels or at least stand on its feet. Here are a few arguments on recovery by Christian Ellul.
When Will The Industry Recover?
It is still very early to predict when the aviation industry will recover as the threat of the Covid pandemic remains. While there have been steps towards making the vaccine available to the masses, it may be several months or years before the pandemic is finally put under control. Therefore, any recovery will have to be made with the virus in mind.
According to IATA, the recovery process is going to be slow. Besides, the lack of a unified approach to the pandemic across various countries is also likely to contribute to the slow recovery. Below are some factors that may have an impact on the recovery and possible approaches.
The Impact Of Lockdowns & Quarantines
Most countries that had initially opened their airspace are implementing travel restrictions due to the second wave of the pandemic. As the high travel season approaches, airlines will see a far less number of vacationers booking flights, effectively losing a great opportunity to start the recovery process.
However, instead of a total travel ban, airlines can work with governments to create a framework based on a risk-based approach and tests. With the approach, policies and procedures will be directed on stopping the spread of the illness by reducing contact, tracing and testing. When this is done in the home country, the risk of the spread is significantly reduced.
Using Technology To Enhance Safety
Airlines and airports need to embrace technology to reduce contact at the airport, enhance social distancing and reduce congestions.
Airlines need to expand their online booking model to help passengers check-in luggage size, verify passport details and other requirements that are checked at the airport. Airports and immigration services should work hand in hand to digitalise most of the services so that passengers spend less time in the facility.
Embrace More Long Flights
Connecting flights is a major part of long-distance travel. However, it has been pointed out as one of the biggest risks to the spread of coronavirus. Before the pandemic can be put under control, the airline industry has to decrease their interconnecting flights for more long-haul travel.
This, in essence, reduces the contact rates from travellers heading to other countries and cities. While this may lower the volume of business that most airlines get, it is a good start to enhance safety and prevent another wave of the pandemic.
Finally, airlines have to deal with inefficiencies in their operations and finances to consolidate the little that they are earning. This calls for better maintenance of planes, cutting back on non-profitable routes, checking on prices to enhance passenger volume without operating at a loss and targeted marketing activities. When all these elements are handled correctly, the industry is likely to recover faster than expected.