We have all made it through 2020. 2021 is the year of recovery. Are you ready and prepared to capitalize on this opportunity?
Brand new airplanes were parked in the desert, other planes flew empty losing money. Passenger loads were less than half of 2019 numbers. Airlines lost unimaginable amounts of money as management scrambled to stop the ship from sinking.
All aspects of air travel have changed, and likely has changed forever. I’m not just talking about the decrease in the first-class wine selection and removing in-flight magazines. New safety procedures and passenger rules will continue.
There is a lot of hope. The world is healing. Airlines that adapt quickly and implement new technologies and procedures are in a position to succeed. This year of recovery will restore passenger confidence.
We made it through storm of 2020. Since then, scientists created multiple vaccines, health protocols were normalized, and economies are recuperating. This year of recovery is a once in a career opportunity to expand and grow business in a positive way using new technologies and systems.
Is your team prepared?
New Changes in 2021
While the media and world focused on scary COVID stories in 2020, lots of new technologies were introduced. Many airlines continued long-term projects and took steps to improve their infrastructure. This is a promising sign for the future of air travel.
Steps on The Road To Recovery
If this all sounds too optimistic, maybe it is. The airline industry was absolutely devasted in 2020. Many airlines went bankrupt and many more would have without massive government stimulus intervention.
Most airlines are still posting losses and burning cash daily. They are approaching a full year without having a single day in the green.
Airlines futures are still precarious. Even with decreased cases and improved health systems there is not a clear consensus on what path this virus will take.
But this virus and new world have created a laser-like focus for managers to make a lean and efficient operation. There are clever new cost-saving initiatives. New marketing campaigns, new rules and technologies.
There are promising signs from scientific data and an opportunity for airlines to emerge from this crisis stronger than ever.
Since the Spring and Summer of 2020 CEO’s have all agreed on one thing. A COVID-19 Vaccine is necessary for recovery. It is the number one priority for airlines. Airline CEOs want to make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for employees.
There is a race underway for airlines to prove who is the safest. They are trying for the same goal. Build passenger confidence and capture market share. This is good news for the industry as a whole. Every airline competing and racing to be the safest will help the entire industry.
Business travelers typically fly to a location to conduct in-person meetings and conferences in close proximity. The vaccine rollout will help allow for safe meetings to resume. This will help the entire travel industry including cruises, hotels, and in turn, the airlines.
The vaccine will speed up recovery and leisure travelers who are vaccinated will be more likely to travel. We all want to travel, and no doubt there are millions of people ready for a beach vacation just itching to be in the sand sipping a Mai Tai.
New Safety Procedures
We used to think getting groped by the TSA in the security line was the most invasive form of government. Instead, after intense lockdowns and government rules that sense may be changing.
In fact, airlines were the ones to implement stricter health guidelines than most governments required. Again, another chance to demonstrate safety and increase passenger confidence.
Some airlines are still blocking seats and reducing capacity on planes. Nearly all airlines require face masks and provide personal protective equipment to their employees and passengers.
While not ideal, these safety procedures create an opportunity for airlines to keep flying safely during the pandemic. Airlines collected data and the spread of the virus is better understood now. This is good news for recovery. Airlines can use the data from their flights and scientists studying the spread to create safe operations.
The airlines that can adapt quickly and implement health procedures have an opportunity to recover quicker. Removing points of contact and touch through the travel experience are top priority. Social distancing and disinfecting surfaces is necessary to reduce the spread.
Switching to Digital
Over the past decade pilots have enjoyed moving away from paper charts, checklists, and flight paperwork. Instead, most of these documents are on iPads and cockpit screens. This has simplified and improved operations. It is more accurate, efficient, safer, and reduces workload dramatically.
The same is happening behind the scenes and for passenger interactions. New software has become available for airlines to help the passenger experience. It has reduced the amount of necessary interaction with customer service
Re-booking and Cancellation
The real heroes from 2020 are the airline call-center and customer-service representatives. In March Delta Air Lines took a hangar from their museum and converted it to a call-center station. Record amounts passengers needed to cancel or change their travel plans.
For months airline employees worked overtime to handle the massive call volume and help passengers. Unfortunately, many relied on old systems that required calling to make changes instead of having a robust online platform or application to help with cancellations and rebooking’s. This led to congested areas in airports as passengers all huddled around a few customer service reps.
Contactless Passenger Experience
Airlines have created systems to track the movement of the virus. With more vaccinations, tracking is more important. That allows for increased confidence for traveling passengers. More flights are operating internationally where passengers are proven to be vaccinated or immune.
New software is allowing quicker passenger movement. Plus, it allows for contactless passenger interactions. A digital health pass will be the future. It may be a critical part for public spaces to allow more people. More people in public spaces mean more traveling.
How to Capitalize in 2021
Airline teams that become early adopters to new technologies and procedures will recover more robustly. The airlines that recover in this fashion can capture larger market share. Looking past 2021, we will see a more modern, improved airline system.
As the virus is brought under control companies with outdated procedures and technology will lag behind and struggle to handle the increase in demand. With machine learning, AI, and reduced computer costs, technology is rapidly improving. Passengers have a choice and will prefer the most efficient and cost-effective option, especially during tough economic times.
The world has changed, especially the world of aviation. For the rest of our lives we will talk about 2020’s impact on the industry, similar to September 11. There were many dark days but there is light at the end of the runway.
Levarti provides solutions that improve the passenger experience at every touchpoint post booking until they have received their luggage at the end of the journey. Levarti’s MAX Vision enables automated passenger disruption management solutions supporting passenger self service, while enhancing the passenger experience and managing airline costs. Additionally, Levarti’s MAX Mobility reduces passenger contact with staff, and provides staff with tools above and below the wing and on board the aircraft to increase revenue, enhance the passenger experience, and streamline process.