Re-designed cabin interiors, cargo aircraft and contact-free processes become the norm

The aerospace industry was one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis, with flights running at an all time low capacity during the height of the pandemic – over 60% of the world’s jets were grounded. Now as international travel finds its feet within the new normal, industry experts are having their say on what the future holds for the sector and how A&D organizations in the commercial aviation, aerospace manufacturing and MRO sector, can navigate an industry that has been so hard hit by the impact of the virus.

Here’s a quick resume of some thoughts from top analysts, consultants and industry experts about the outlook for the industry in the post-pandemic era:

  1. The spotlight has been cast on commercial airlines in the post-pandemic era to ensure passenger safety during the flight. There have been many provisional designs put forward that re-evaluate how cabins are laid-out and can limit the spread of infection.
  2. Organizations are also heavily researching the transmission of infection on flights to determine the risk for passengers. Research currently suggests that flying could be safer than sitting in a poorly ventilated pub, where masks are not mandatory.
  3. Global consultancy firm PwC reveals in their recent report that the impact the virus has had on commercial airlines could have a knock-on effect on OEMs, MROs and the previously China-centric supply chain.
  4. Pre-empting the impact the virus would have on business, airlines across the globe announced that they will be retiring some aircraft, and some airlines even committed to retiring entire fleets, due to the large MRO cost tied to older aircraft. This means airlines and MROs alike may have to turn their attention to newer aircraft types to drive revenue.
  5. COVID-19 and a lack of passengers has given rise to “preighter” aircraft: former passenger planes now carrying cargo. The trend of changing passenger jets to freight aircraft is predicted to keep increasing over the next year.
  6. The pandemic is propelling a touch-free future for A&D. In commercial aviation, Qatar Airways, the leading airline during the crisis, has launched a new mobile app that offers an entirely contact-free check-in process. For MRO and aircraft sign-offs the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of remote inspections and electronic signatures which will boost productivity and efficiencies in the sector.

Although it is only early days, with airlines innovating and adapting to the new normal there are certainly signs of some green shoots of recovery within the industry.

Eleanor Rhodes is a PR Account Executive at IBA International.

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