Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have all had to get used to a new version of normal, and whilst this can mean minor changes for some areas of life, the aviation industry is one sector that is changing rapidly. This is both in response to the impact that COVID has had and other changes that have been happening around the globe.
So, what can we expect from the world of aviation from now on?
The effects of COVID-19
The global pandemic has obviously had the most immediate effect on the aviation industry. After travel being restricted and social distancing being put in place, the way we travel has been forced to change. With many planes hardly leaving the ground over the last year, there has understandably been a drop in orders for new aircraft and the relevant parts and equipment.
This is only likely to change when levels of air traffic return to something resembling the numbers we had seen previously and airlines feel confident in making the investment. However, one thing that most airlines have had to take notice of is their hygiene procedures. As with every other business, these have had to be improved in order to convince the public that it is safe to travel again.
This can include shields between passengers and ultraviolet cleaning systems to ensure the spread of pathogens is minimised. Some companies are also looking at ways in which meals can be distributed with as little contact from the crew as possible as well as hands-free toilet operation.
We live in a digital age, and so it is understandable that technology will play a greater part in how we fly. The use of virtual assistants, biometric identity technology and digital document management are all becoming commonplace for many airlines.
The contactless society has been growing, which means that passengers are now able to pre-order inflight food and drink through apps and websites too. The use of artificial intelligence is now growing in the form of data collection, thermal scanning, crowd management and even cleaning alerts.
This can also be used behind the scenes within ground handling operations and equipment management. These not only streamline processes within the airport but online systems can also be considered to be more reliable thanks to increased protection and privacy of data.
Recruiting and retaining employees is a challenge for any business, and offering training is a vital part of keeping key employees. The way that training is rolled out is now changing as the digital age plays a much bigger part, and allows companies to ensure that all staff are fully trained in new processes that are being brought in.
The green agenda has been gathering pace for several years, and a sense of urgency is now upon us. The aviation industry has been forced to respond to this and find a way to become more sustainable.
This will mean that there will be a push to use more fuel-efficient aircraft in order to reduce pollution levels and help airlines to achieve their sustainability targets. There will likely be greater investment in green technologies as aviators work out the best way to stay in the skies without harming the environment.
The world is changing, and the aviation industry is working hard to keep up. A combination of ethics, innovation and truly unforeseen events have brought about some of the biggest changes in air travel in decades. These should help to make the process better for passengers and operators alike, not to mention the planet as a whole.