Four changes airlines will adopt in the aftermath of COVID-19


The business aviation sector would be wise to keep an eye on ideas and changes emerging in commercial aviation in response to new requirements. Here are four major changes expected in that market.

It’s more than likely that in certain ways, COVID-19 will change airlines forever. Just as the tragic terrorist attacks on New York City and the Pentagon in 2001 permanently altered security standards in airports and on aircraft, the pandemic of 2020 is poised to change numerous things about how we fly. This doesn’t mean that we won’t fly, nor that things might not feel normal again at some point in the near future. But there will undoubtedly be some changes, and the examples below stand out as perhaps the most likely to stick around a while.

1. New cabin cleaning systems
First and foremost on the minds of those in charge of passenger airlines is how to ensure that cabins are as safe as they can be. Much of this is going to come down to practices and protocols. Flight attendants and cleaning crews will have new responsibilities when it comes to handling trash, wiping down materials and so on. Indeed, we can expect for aircraft cabins to be kept immaculate from here on out. But there are also likely to be new systems in place designed to keep air fresh and clean even mid-flight. Avant Aerospace’s release of a device for ion distribution is an example of what this may look like, and it’s likely a representation of more to come.

2. Redesigned cabins
This kind of change won’t occur overnight, but there is already talk of airlines rethinking cabin design with safety – specifically from airborne viruses – in mind. It’s anybody’s guess what such a redesign would look like, and it won’t necessarily be uniform from one airline to the next. But CNBC’s article about post-pandemic cabins highlighted some interesting and exciting possibilities. Staggered rows, protective screens rising up from seats, and even chairs that change colour when properly cleaned are all being discussed.

3. Inflight commerce to boost revenue
There are likely to be some changes that don’t have to do with safety as well, but which indirectly relate to the pandemic. Chief among them may be a revamped inflight commerce system meant to help airlines boost revenue after an unimaginably difficult year. Already, a discussion on in-air payments by FIS Global points to some fairly simple ways in which airlines could generate more business. New payment systems that make it easier for passengers to buy wi-fi and even shop online, both in terminals and on board aircraft, are available. It’s likely that we’ll see their adoption accelerating as airlines look for new ways to incentivise purchases. This may also result in new shopping and entertainment options for passengers.

4. Mandated protections
Getting back to the issue of pure passenger safety, there’s also a strong possibility that we’ll see mandated protections, at least for a time. Condé Nast Traveler reported on precautions of this sort that different airlines put in place, and this should give us some idea of what to expect. For example, Air Canada and several others are requiring face coverings; Delta is requiring that passengers leave middle seats open; and Emirates is providing disposable protective gowns for flight crews. It’s possible that protections like these will ebb away gradually as the world learns to control COVID-19. But we’ll likely need to get used to them for a fairly long time.

There could well be more changes on the way that we’re less aware of, or can’t foresee. All of the above adjustments are likely to occur though, and in some cases have already begun.

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