INDUSTR Y R E COV ERY
030 JUNE 2020
A USA RECOVERY PLAN
The National Air Carrier Association (NACA) in the USA has issued
an initial set of principles that it recommends for the resumption
of regular commercial flight operations in the wake of Covid-19.
Named ‘SAFETY’ (safety, access, flexibility, economic viability,
testing, you), the plan outlines actions that NACA believes must
be taken to ensure that the US airline industry can restore public
confidence and be a safe catalyst for economic recovery.
The SAFETY steps are:
Safety: Every effort must be taken to ensure that passengers
and crew on aircraft are protected from exposure to the virus.
Access: Access to air travel – and the resulting consumer
spending at hotels, restaurants, resorts and retail establishments
– will be a critical element of economic recovery.
Flexibility: Airlines must have the flexibility to shift aircraft and
routes to meet demand as it ebbs and flows during the recovery.
Economic viability: Restrictions on air travel cannot be so
stringent that passengers can’t fly easily and affordably, and
airlines can’t return to profitability and protect jobs.
Testing: The US government must work quickly to deploy a
measured approach to Covid-19 testing in airports that uses
technologies for both screening (e.g., non-contact temperature
scanning and antibody testing) and credentialing (biometric or
tamper-proof ID systems) for those safe to fly.
You: The most critical element in returning to the skies is you,
the passenger. More than anything else, aviation cares about
passenger health and helping us all return to better days.
“America’s economic recovery will require enormous,
coordinated efforts from governments, industries and people
across the nation,” said NACA president and CEO, George Novak.
“We look forward to working with all stakeholders to plan for
resuming regular activities and hope the SAFETY principles serve
to kickstart those discussions.”
adds Kutmus. “But, as with many other things, foresight
into how long this will last and what will happen beyond
that is still being determined as we follow new
information being released by the minute about the
virus, containment, and other preventative measures.
He warns that, over the long term, this will clearly
not be a sustainable business practice if demand
begins to recover at a gradual pace, because ticket
prices will increase for consumers as airlines look
for ways to generate revenue being lost from the
middle seat being blocked out.
Kutmus goes on to say that major
developments on the Covid-19
containment and vaccine front could
also change things up considerably.
“As we emerge from this
situation, data, statistics, and advice
from our medical professionals
will be key to helping us guide our
customers and employees to return
to a ‘new normal’, given the
circumstances,” says Kutmus. “The fear
of not having a verified cure makes the
worry of catching Covid-19 a lot scarier for
people across the globe. I personally believe that once
a vaccine is developed, people will slowly grow more
comfortable readjusting back to normal life, being close
to one another, and flying again.”
Kefallonitis adds that remembering to incorporate
empathy, patience and humanity into any post-pandemic
PaxEx gameplan is crucial.
“The post-Covid-19 passenger experience should not
only be dominated by measures of safety or generating
revenue. Safeguarding passengers’ emotional states is also
very important,” reminds Kefallonitis.
“This is a time to focus on providing loyal passengers
with a meaningful and valuable experience. Oftentimes
little things that mean a lot could be the way forward.
Tokens of gratitude such as a handwritten note or a
branded giveaway will now, more than ever, demonstrate
total passenger devotion.”
UK-based design studio,
Factorydesign, has responded
to the trend for passengers
wishing to feel protected
from each other. Its ‘Isolate
Screen’ kit consists of a
screen mounted on a
lightweight table top,
which can supported by the
armrests and secured using
the seat belts to swiftly
transform a vacant seat
into a protective screen.
See p70 for more details.
“The airline industry
has illustrated time
and time again that if
there’s any industry in
the world that knows
how to deal with a
crisis, it’s this one”