An Opinion Piece by Victor Managing Director, Toby Edwards.
This week has sadly come with more bad news for the aviation industry as Rolls-Royce announced they are cutting 9,000 jobs amid the coronavirus crisis. It’s becoming increasingly apparent by the day that the “V” shape recovery we were all hopeful for in April isn’t going to happen, at least for the aviation sector. The scars will be deep, and the reduction of workforces across the largest legacy companies highlights the long-lasting impact the pandemic will have on aerospace.
As I said in the first episode of our new podcast Victor Voices – an access-all-areas pass into the world of private aviation – I don’t think we will get back to the flight volumes that we saw pre-COVID-19. Who knows if I’m right, but with Rolls-Royce, Boeing and British Airways anticipating the recovery taking several years, certainly not months or even quarters, it is difficult to imagine otherwise.
With that said, it’s essential to focus on the opportunities and remain optimistic. At Victor, we’ve already seen a 60%+ increase bookings in May versus April. Whilst the justification for flying may be different, people will still want to fly. Moreover, for the majority of those that work in aviation, it’s not just a job; it is a passion and a lifestyle. With a motivated workforce, demand, and significant benefits for the environment as a result of far fewer flights, it’s not all bad news.
So how will aviation change?
With passenger safety the number one priority in our sector, social distancing and cleanliness shall undoubtedly become integral to the flying process. New stringent procedures for all passengers and crew, as serious as the security processes implemented post-9/11, will appear and this shall take time.
As major airlines and airports adapt to these new passenger safety processes, we expect to see travel managers and individuals impacted by the lack of flights with legacy companies investigating aircraft charter as a safe and viable alternative. Spend management on travel will of course be a highly-important consideration, however, chartering an aircraft offers the opportunity to avoid the potential hazards posed by crowded airports and aircraft. As international restrictions lift for business and leisure travel, business aviation will prove to be inherently better suited to “safe” flying post COVID-19.
In the same way students will need to adapt to less face-time with professors, fewer international business meetings shall occur in person. When face-to-face encounters are however required, just as in-person teaching in smaller class-rooms as opposed to large lecture theatres is more practical, the exclusive use of a business jet is ideally suited for post-COVID-19 travel to significantly limit your person-to-person exposure. Furthermore, managing the cleanliness of a small aircraft is far more straight-forward than deep cleaning large commercial airliners.
Organisations have long valued the time-saving capabilities of flying on a business jet – after all, how else can you visit three clients in three countries in one day, completing meetings, avoiding hotel costs and waking up the next morning in your own bed? Now, when you consider the safer, more controlled environment both in private terminals and onboard business jets, chartering an aircraft (and possibly an e-VTOL aircraft in the future) has to be a better way to fly and certainly worth further investigation for those less familiar.
As a final remark, on the front cover of our 2020 Victor Magazine we ask the question; “With emissions set to double over the next decade, can we define a more sustainable future for jet travel?” Last weekend the New York Times reported the global shutdown is poised to drop carbon emissions by 8% in 2020 alone. For me, this is a silver lining we wouldn’t have seen without a worldwide lockdown and only inspires us to dig our heels deeper into leading the change to a more sustainable future for business aviation.
If you would like to read more about our award-winning sustainability campaign – BeyondOffset – and receive a hard copy of our magazine please email email@example.com
Victor is the on-demand aircraft charter provider that combines smart technology with a high-touch customer service team to ensure you’re always connected and in control. To charter an aircraft, please contact the Victor team at firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0)20 7384 8550.
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