In just a timeline of two years, our lives have drastically changed due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Having to go through the lockdowns and social distancing ourselves, our daily lives’ have been completely disrupted. Many companies, factories and industries are down and among them, aviation is the one that has been hit the most. Airlines make money when they fly and they burn cash when they are grounded.
The blow of the pandemic may be severe but it’s not permanent. Aviation and airports have to look for a collective restart to have a fundamental shift on all walks of life to see a positive trend.
The rate at which the global population is being vaccinated will ensure we are back to our normal lives within the next six to twelve months.
Our industry has to focus on how to reimagine the passenger experience, change in the business models and implement new ideas that will lead to a better future.
India’s take on reassuring passengers to return to air travel is very practical to address passenger concerns on the safety of their health. Technology has been a major help in solving business process changes in the traveler experience. The introduction of the home grown Aarogya Sethu app for Covid-19 contact tracing, 100% on-line web-check in, contactless screening, contactless baggage check-in, supply of PPE kits, face shields, masks and offering sanitizer to all passengers are part of the norm in the last six months. In addition, following social distancing recommendations inside the airport, aircraft and improvements in cabin air quality have reassured passengers for a safer travel.
Airlines may benefit by focusing on new measures such as bulk leasing; as the current lease rates are lower due to negative interest rates as well as increase charter options and focus more on cargo and local demand. Charter contracts can also be more lucrative which generates a nominal revenue to balance the high fixed costs and operational expenses.
A financially viable air cargo policy will help to create a good source of revenues while the passengers regain their confidence to travel. Airlines will have to invest in technology and robust business processes to improve the passenger and cargo businesses by adapting the best practices and solutions. Here is an opportunity for major airlines to implement cargo revenue management and pricing technologies and move away from manual spread sheet-based processes that will maximize their shipment contribution.
As there are quite a few professional firms looking for an opportunity to enter the aircraft leasing industry, airlines can make use of this opportunity and look for localization. Government measures on reducing the airport levy charges and tax etc. can help the industry to get back to normalcy in the near future.
These small steps may give the aviation Industry a “Rebirth” to their former glory.