The global aviation industry has faced the sharpest and most sustained fall in demand due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Hosted by Alex Macheras - Aviation Analyst, travel journalist, and a regular feature on the world’s leading international news networks - we look at how the aviation industry needs to adapt and define new parameters crucial to boost passengers’ confidence and peace of mind, the challenges of these measures, and how the aviation industry can pivot to achieve a new normal for air travel.

Criticality and Challenges of Implementing Health and Safety Measures

Based on Macheras’ observations, airlines that are implementing a layered approach with their measures are able to reduce the risk of virus transmission and, in the process, rebuild passenger confidence. The effectiveness is enhanced for airlines that goes a step further to actively communicate their measures to ensure better passenger understanding.

In Macheras’ interview with the CEO of Finnair, Topi Manner, Manner emphasised the need for reassurance, reliability and predictability as the industry navigates one of the most severe global health emergencies in history. While most airlines who have continued to operate now are practicing social distancing onboard the aircraft, Marcheras suggests this practice is not sustainable for the long run. Social distancing takes passenger capacity down to approximately 62% in each aircraft when most airlines only break even at 77%.1

Covid-19 testing as a strategy

Macheras proposes that one of the most critical and strategic measure to restore passengers’ confidence before a vaccine is made available is rigorous Covid-19 testing. He observed that several countries are already deploying testing as a strategy to gradually open-up their borders while keeping their infection rates under control. The success of such a strategy hinges upon the extent of collaboration between airlines, airports, governments and public health agencies.

Harmonisation and a Global standard

Macheras drew parallels between the September 11 terrorist attacks and the current pandemic. September 11 heightened consumer’s anxiety about flying and ultimately resulted in the establishment of global security standards pertaining to air travel. Similarly, in the current pandemic, there is a need for the universal implementation of harmonised measures to give passengers a peace of mind.

It may be an uphill battle but Macheras concludes that the long-term outlook for aviation and air travel continues to be bright. Collectively, airlines, airports, government and industry bodies have a part to play in defining the new normal for air travel, rebuild passenger confidence and allow aviation to once again bring people together in the inimitable way it does so well.

1 Source: IATA

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