The travel business economy is in turmoil in 2020, and the flight industry is no exception. A dramatic drop in demand for commercial flights led to layoffs, steeply discounted ticket prices and extreme flight restrictions. Some have raised the questions: Will the big commercial airlines ever recover?
The answer to that question is, of course, yes. Businesses learn to adapt and survive all the time, and even though there are no sure signs of a full recovery just yet, ultimately the global airline companies will figure things out. It all comes down to offering what the customer demands.
When will the airline industry recover?
Dr. Karsten Benz, a professor of aviation management in Frankfurt, was recently quoted saying “In aviation, there’s always a crisis. Disruption is normal – 9/11, SARS, the financial crisis, the Icelandic volcano.” Speaking with Business Airport International, Dr. Benz went on to explain that “It’s two good years, two bad years, so you must train your people to expect volatility. But after each crisis, a recovery always follows. You must be prepared for when demand returns.”
As simple as that sounds, the tricky part right now is that very few people are demanding flights. Companies have moved business meetings online, trade conventions are canceled for the foreseeable future, and to some extent, many people believe it is unsafe to travel.
In a recent report published by the Daily Mail, experts predicted that airlines will see a spike in passengers insisting on direct flights between major cities rather than making a lengthy layover in packed hub airports, where there is a greater risk of catching Covid-19.
Is it safe to fly right now?
Research data shows that there have been very few documented cases of in-flight transmission, so the chances of catching Covid-19 during a flight are exceptionally small.
In one case cited by CNNWire, approximately 328 passengers and crew members were tested for coronavirus after a March 31 flight from the US to Taiwan carried 12 passengers who were symptomatic, but everyone else on the flight tested negative.
The detrimental effects of diminished flights have caused problems outside of financial strain, as well. Weather forecasts have proven to be less accurate during this pandemic. A brand-new study in the journal Geophysical Research Letters found that global meteorologists lost 50-75% of aircraft weather observations in the first half of this year when thousands of flights were grounded due to the pandemic.
Are private jet charters the right choice?
Things have not been as grim for the private jet industry. According to the New York Times, in April, commercial passenger count went down 95% vs. 2019. Passenger count on private jet charters, however, was down only 67%. Just two months later, in June, private charters were only operating at a 22 percent decrease.
Private jets have also been an integral part of getting people home again. While charters are not a recommended way to get around state-sanctioned travel restrictions, private aircraft is an excellent option for high-risk situations where commercial travel would be risky under any circumstances.
As the flight industry, and the rest of the economy, learn to deal with the current global situation, private aircraft will continue to be an important and popular travel option. Whether avoiding commercial restrictions or simply finding a solution to get where you need to be, more people could soon become more acquainted with the benefits of flying in a private jet.