By Ittay Hayut, CEO of hoopo.
Travel restrictions due to the global spread of the coronavirus have had a significant impact on the aviation sector and its employees across all parts of the value chain. Ground handlers are the backbone of the industry, dedicated to serving their partner airlines and airports to ensure a safe, smooth experience for passengers.
Once this pandemic subsides, multiple actions will be required for a successful recovery. For businesses to increase operational efficiency, achieve better results and resume full activity as soon as possible, it is essential to plan ahead and address these urgent topics:
- Rebuilding Passenger Confidence
How long will it take before people are ready to travel again once restrictions are lifted and the virus is contained? It depends on how quickly the industry adapts to the ‘New Normal’ requirements. Quick implementation of social distancing, temperature screening, cleaning regimes (effective disinfection) and quick testing will be crucial components of the industry’s recovery. However, passengers’ trust is built not only on personal safety but also on operational performance issues such as on-time departure, luggage arrival, and an overall seamless journey.
Another critical topic is ticket fares post COVID-19. To offer attractive fares, airlines will have to reduce costs and keep operations as lean as possible. This will require improving efficacy and maximizing fleet utilization. Ground handling companies that support the airlines in achieving these goals will make all the difference.
2. Operational Efficiency
Ground handling companies are short-staffed due to COVID-19, and this will probably continue well into the recovery period. When travel begins to resume, handlers will need to quickly ramp up services to a rapidly increasing number of travelers. To maintain efficient operations and timely service, companies will need to automate and maintain excellent control over their fleets in order to make the best use of existing resources.
3. Adaptability as a Core Ability
Although the activity of the industry is expected to return to normal, the pattern of business growth is unknown. This uncertainty demands extreme adaptability from ground handlers.
The ability of a company to smartly utilize and right-size its fleet may become essential for gaining market momentum and increasing profitability. The ability to adjust operations to the fluctuation in demand depends on two crucial factors:
- Maximize fleet utilization
Providing premium service while reducing procurement costs or allowing some equipment to reside in long-term storage to prevent asset depreciation
- Conduct predictive analytics
Anticipating and adequately preparing for operational peak hours and changing demands as travel volumes return
The current crisis has had a significant impact on all of us. We trust that everyone in the aviation community will join forces and that we will overcome this unprecedented crisis better and stronger.