The aviation industry suffered an immense economic loss due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Many airlines are filing for bankruptcy and around 25 million aviation jobs are at risk.
For the first time in a long time, nine out of ten people live in countries with imposed travel restrictions. Stay-at-home regulations, social distancing, and community quarantines have directly affected the tourism sectors, hospitality industries, and airline companies.
Even after travel restrictions have been relaxed in some countries, there is still little demand for airline services. Companies are scrambling to cut costs and save their business. This has left many people asking: What does the future hold for the aviation industry?
The Future of the Aviation Industry
The future of the airline sector seems bleak, but companies are doing everything they can to ensure the safety of travelers. For the foreseeable future, here’s what the industry looks like for airline travelers:
Enhanced Health Measures
A survey conducted by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) says that implementing strict health measures such as visible temperature screening, wearing masks, and sanitizing increases travelers’ feelings of safety when flying during the pandemic.
Until a vaccine is widely available, the primary focus of airline companies is to assess the risk level of every passenger. With transparency and consent, travel companies can use data, such as age, underlying health issues, and travel history to create risk profiles.
Additionally, companies are currently looking into widespread temperature monitoring rather than individualized checks. For instance, Baidu developed a way to scan the temperatures of 200 people per minute.
The efforts in using technology to improve travel are still in its early stages. However, as of now, airlines are doing whatever they can to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. The Emirates are doing their part by conducting on-site COVID-19 testing for all its passengers. Thermal cameras at airports have become more widespread as well.
Several symptom-tracking devices and contact-tracing apps are now being used in different countries.
Apple and Google broke barriers and worked together in creating a contact-tracing software that makes it easier for developers to create compatible apps. In other words, they created an application programming interface (API) that allows Android and iOS health apps to “talk” to one another.
With Apple and Google laying the groundwork, countries can now develop apps that plug into, and function in conjunction with this software.
Traveling with No Physical Contact
Touchless travel not only applies to airline companies, but the hotel industry as well. Even if you have strict sanitation protocols in place, touching surfaces, exchanging travel documents, security check-ins, and baggage control, there still may be a significant risk of infection for both parties.
Online check-ins and automation are the new travel norm. The use of biometrics for identity verification will increasingly become more common.
Other modifications may also happen, such as contactless fingerprint scanning, and face recognition devices. However, airline companies should be vigilant in ensuring these technologies are safe, secure and non-intrusive.
What Airlines Should Do
Prioritizing the health and safety of all passengers is the main priority for airline companies today. Keep in mind that fear and trust are the two emotions most people feel when planning a trip. However, as has been reported in the news, airlines are allegedly breaking social distancing measures by allowing people to sit on middle seats. Many of the passengers also fail to follow social distancing protocols.
Airlines need to be vigilant and transparent in implementing these protocols. Social media is an ideal platform in which to keep the public informed. You can post a video showing the efforts airline companies are doing to keep passengers safe such as preventive measures, sanitation processes, etc.
Posting these kinds of messages will reassure and also help lessen the fears of flying. Keep in mind that if travelers don’t feel safe and protected, the probability is high that people will search for another airline that is taking steps to ensure a sense of safety.
When borders reopen, there should be a sense of trust between travelers and airlines. People need assurance that boarding a plane is safe.
With that in mind, strict health safety protocols should be implemented. The use of technology to adapt to changing consumer behavior not only ensures a seamless journey, but also builds trust between the airline and the consumer.
However, airline companies need to assure their customers that personal data that has been collected, is being stored safely and securely. When using technology-based solutions, consent, privacy, and transparency of consumer data should be the first priority.