The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a colossal toll on the world’s economic activity with individuals, organisations, governments, and businesses having to modify rapidly to the on-going challenges of the crisis. Coupled with well-being and health implications, the threat brings along a grave disruption to all walks of life, and the aviation sector is no exception.
However, with the commercial air travel being eventually revitalised, the Indian aviation sector is all set to touch new boulevards through the clouds of optimism. With the government opening up the skies once again, the aviation sector is now moving towards the path to recovery, thus advancing the country’s economic fortune.
Future of aviation sector post the COVID-19 era
Aviation will always remain an indispensable part of how we travel domestically or internationally, whether for business or leisure. With the sector being blamed for the spread of the virus worldwide, governments across the globe prioritised community health over the economy.
Several industry experts believe that commercial air travel has to eventually revive for the sake of economy and convenience. Travel will eventually be classified as ‘essential’ and ‘non-essential travel,’ almost all falling in the latter category.
With the COVID-19 security protocols in place, the wait time at the airport will increase, deterring even more people to travel. Social distancing and health security will be at the forefront as the guiding factors in the near future, whether it is commercial or business aviation.
Major emphasis will be laid on contact-less check-in procedures and touch-free TSA. A vast change has also been witnessed in a trend where flyers are preferring to fly business class. Thus, airlines are revamping their business models with offerings under the ‘New Normal.’
The scare of travellers contracting the virus from the surrounding passengers has led the uber-rich, ‘first-class’ travellers to reinvent their travel module. Most of them now prefer to fly in private jets, considering the contactless environment it offers, elimination of the need to be waiting in a crowded terminal, the sanitised environment within the terminal, and aboard the jets.
While there’s no telling on when and how the world will break free of COVID-19, let’s take a look at how the aviation industry is bracing itself to combat the crisis.
Fleet management will be the need of the hour
The crisis having idled much of the aviation business; fleet readiness and maintenance considerations are of paramount significance to tackle the challenges posed by the pandemic.
As a solution to the logistical turbulences in carrying medicine, equipment, and relief supplies from one part of the country to another, airlines have been offering strategic resources, aircraft, and crew to transport medication and essential equipment.
Even though presently, the aircrafts are functioning normally, authorities must still ensure to document any measures utilised to exercise and uphold the maintenance of fleet services.
Business as ‘unusual’
For the upcoming years, as part of the ‘new normal,’ airlines might no longer bank on historical predictions and models of revenue management.
In fact, they might come up with new standards, baselines, and rapidly adapt, as well as react, to alterations and market requisites, and will be more focussed on short-term versus long-term planning.
Emphasis on health and wellness
To gain a traveller’s confidence, as stated by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the airlines will ensure that middle seats in aircraft are left unoccupied to safeguard social distancing between seated passengers.
The sector of private jets is witnessing a progressive rise
The domain of private jets is another sector of the industry that is currently been witnessing a great demand. Being favoured by the wealthy community of the HNI’s, NRI’s, and corporates, the demand for private jets has been flourishing at a time when the overall industry has been engulfed by the maelstrom of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although the domestic flights have resumed services, there has been a strategic rise in the number of inquiries for the private jet sector. Clients are choosing to charter because they do not want to be confined with hundreds of people with ‘unknown’ travel histories, and have noted that private passengers usually clear customs and immigration separate from the crowded main airport terminals.
Mounting demand for private jets and chartered airplanes
Unlike commercial flights, chartering a private jet allows you to fly at your own schedule, at a time that suits you best. There are hundreds of dedicated private jet terminals around the country to choose from to avoid the lengthy check-in process and security line at public airports.
The best part is that you don’t have to get there an hour early. Arriving at the tarmac 15 minutes before your flight is more than enough. Taking a private jet means skipping customs and immigration queues altogether. As soon as the plane lands, you can just disembark from the plane, and climb into your ride.
One thing that distinguishes private jets from others is that they are not tied to the same hub and spoke networks utilised by airlines. So, if your plane has plenty of fuel capacity to reach your destination, you can directly fly.
Being equipped to limb faster than commercial airlines, private jets can get above the crummy weather sooner, and fly faster too. Commercial jets cruise around 35,000 feet, while smaller jets characteristically fly higher, thus putting them above the air traffic, resulting in their paths being more direct, and never having to compete with bigger planes for space issues.
Despite being susceptible, Indian airlines are in an improved position compared with global counterparts. The sector can definitely expect a U-shaped retrieval with domestic travel recuperating faster than the global markets.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)
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