The history of medicine teaches us that every pandemic ends in two ways. On the one hand, there is the obvious, medical way: when there are fewer and fewer cases of illness and death, when more and more vaccinations have been made available, and when a large part of the population of entire continents has become immune to the respective pathogen. There is also, however, the social end of a pandemic. It occurs when societies, medicine and science have come to the conclusion that a disease cannot be completely eradicated and that we must live with it long term. Perhaps we are now on the verge of this. Despite mutants and currently, only slightly increasing numbers of cases, we are relaxing strict regulations, and starting to reopen areas of public life and schools. This is made possible by new ways of dealing with the pandemic. Regardless of the new measures, be it mass testing, vaccinations or better data exchange with the authorities, any change takes place in our minds first. This is also true for the travel and airline industry. With the help of a digital vaccination passport, international travel should become more feasible.
Innovation boost through digitization
Airlines, airports, ground handlers, government agencies, electronic service providers all have started collaborations previously never done. The last twelve months have given the industry a boost in innovation, due in particular to digitalization. Apps, contactless payment, digital contact tracking and automated planning in the face of constantly changing parameters have become key drivers of innovation. There also have been some changes in communication, which were urgently needed. Good communication is key to regaining the trust of passengers in aviation. It is the only way to make a successful restart happen. Huntley Lawrence, aviation director at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, warned that a lack of consistency in application of rules and guidance threatens to undermine public confidence and the drive to rebuild demand.
The conclusion is obvious that despite all the losses, the industry will continue to invest money in these areas in the coming months and years in the hope that it will pay off. Money invested is money saved, especially when it comes to increasing productivity. When employees can more easily and accurately use data in their operational work, they are better able to fulfill and document tasks.
Trend for technical innovations going strong
At some point, no one knows exactly when, there will be a “post-crisis”. This point in time will not be the same in all parts of the world. Asia and the United States are certainly closer than Europe, due to low case numbers in Asia and strong vaccination progress in the USA. But one thing is true for all markets. More than ever before, technological innovation will be crucial, because it will determine the competitiveness of market players. In the coming months and years in particular, there will be an oversupply on the market that will allow those who have adapted best to the new conditions to survive. Technology will be a key factor.
This blogpost was written by INFORM – one of our partners at the World Aviation Festival Virtual Week.