Mike Stengel | Senior Associate at AeroDynamic Advisory
I cannot wait for air travel to get back to normal. I have always been willing to hop on a jet at a moment’s notice, and I am always amazed whenever flying through a major airline hub at the complexity and pace of the operations. In the wake of COVID-19, I’m saddened to now see entire terminals closed and thousands of parked jets. After months of the new social distancing, mask-wearing, and work-from-home reality, we are all anxious for optimism and for the resemblance of normalcy.
There are certainly reasons to be optimistic based on announcements from airlines. Following the April trough of air travel, airlines announced tens of thousands of flights that were returning to their summer schedules. Operators have also emphasized new cleaning procedures between flights, mask requirements, as well as the ubiquitous HEPA filters to convince passengers that air travel is a safe mode of travel. Certainly, this all signals the beginning of a steady recovery, right?
Unfortunately, the optimistic tone being relayed to passengers does not match the more somber tone being expressed to other airline stakeholders, including employees and suppliers. For those involved in supporting the airlines, it would behoove them to consider these mixed messages holistically to inform the more likely demand outlook.