It is more important than ever that the industry stays connected and comes together to define the next era of air travel.
That’s why we hosted our first Twitter Live chat, inviting aviation professionals and enthusiasts from all corners of the sector to come together and share their views on the future of aviation and the passenger experience.
We asked our followers a series of 10 questions on everything from passenger confidence to how aviation operations can rebound from the coronavirus crisis. Here’s what the aviation brands, experts and enthusiasts who joined us had to say.
A time to work together
Highlighting the importance of collaboration and innovation during the crisis, followers shared their stories about the industry’s efforts to respond to, and survive the COVID-19 crisis.
AIX exhibitor, Tronos Aviation Consulting, revealed it has reallocated its additive manufacturing capabilities and capacities to emergency medical equipment for health professionals. Not only that, but the company has also donated all its PPE.
Also helping out frontline workers, Runway Girl Network highlighted how Raytheon Technologies’ Collins Aerospace Interiors unit is producing 3D printed headbands for face shields in aid of the COVID-19 fight.
Elsewhere, airline content marketing agency, Spafax, told us how it’s pivoting towards new creative concepts for passenger IFE and communications, as well as streamlining its infrastructure in the cloud. It confirmed that new platform partners and products are being planned to give airlines expanded choices when the recovery begins.
Then came the million-dollar question: what will the future of aviation look like?
While the future at this stage is still uncertain, the majority of participants agreed that aviation will look very different in the short to medium term. There will be a far greater focus on digital and automation across many stages of the customer journey.
Some noted that perceptions of travel have changed and, as we move towards the ‘new normal’, topics such as the contactless cabin and sustainability will be front-of-mind.
The discussion raised some debate around whether passengers will feel cautious about flying and what airlines and manufacturers can do to give passengers peace of mind. Though it will be a combination of factors, commenters agreed that sanitising standards would be important to reassuring passengers to return to the skies.
New sanitisation solutions onboard
SEKISUI KYDEK believes a renewed passenger focus on sanitation will increase demand for materials that are chemical resistant, inherently antimicrobial and will not be stained by harsh cleaning agents. As such, there will be an emphasis on patterns that mimic texture but are flat and don’t trap bacteria.
To ensure consumer confidence, many argued that airlines need to be transparent and open about their improvements and ensure cabin crews are prepared to enforce rules like wearing masks so that passengers comply. However, others raised questions on how difficult screening measures and rules could be when taking into account non-coronavirus medical issues such as common colds and seasonal allergies.
All change for Aircraft Interiors?
When asked if aircraft interiors need a massive overhaul or if small changes will suffice, many agreed that the industry doesn’t have the capital to afford major changes in aircraft interiors. There was consensus that simple retrofits combined with increased public knowledge of cabin cleaning solutions will be the first step to get the industry moving again.
Looking further ahead, one user commented that more consideration is required to help win back passenger confidence, especially flying in non-premium cabins where space is limited.
Considering how the passenger experience may change, many participants agreed that inflight cleanliness will be important as passengers try to touch as little as possible. Further to this, some raised questions about inflight magazines and noted that digitisation is likely to be accelerated by COVID-19.
Another user highlighted how passenger dehydration caused by low moisture content in the air lowers the immune system and therefore increases the risk of infection. They asked: “will airlines need to realign inflight services to improve passenger wellbeing, such as limiting alcohol consumption and only offering healthy foods?” While we don’t have all the answers yet, our co-located exhibition WTCE has been looking at how this area of air travel will change over the coming months.
Exciting products in the spotlight
As our followers were unable to see new innovations first-hand at Aircraft Interiors Expo this year, we asked our exhibitors to share what visitors would have discovered on their stands. SEKISUI KYDEX said they were excited to show their X-Rite Colour’s Total Appearance Capture (TAC) Ecosystem.
Press Reader also highlighted its sustainable, affordable and safe solution to give passengers access to newspapers and magazines. They also allow passengers to see menus, duty-free magazines and other traditionally printed materials in the post-pandemic world.
Keeping the industry connected
Despite the challenges facing the aviation industry as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, all parties agreed that the sector is ripe for innovation. We can expect to see lots of exciting new ideas both in the air and on the ground.
While it is clear that the aviation industry faces unique challenges on the road to recovery, the passion and determination among industry professionals to stay connected and return stronger are universal. We’d like to thank everyone who took part and hope you’ll join us for the PEC Virtual Series. Speakers from across the industry will join us for a series of weekly webinars to discuss the challenges facing our industry and explore new solutions.
If you missed the live chat and would like to add your thoughts in the comments below, we would love to hear from you. Or, join the conversation on Twitter by following @aix_expo and use #AIXStayConnected to join the discussion with the AIX community on our social channels.
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