During these challenging times our world has had to adapt to a new normal and undergo radical changes in the workplace. When we think of those directly on the frontline we most often think of doctors and nurses but the aviation industry is playing a big role too. Despite all the setbacks the industry is facing, with a reported $252 billion loss in revenue(1), the aviation industry still remains a vital resource. The importance of the industry has only been made clearer during the pandemic as we have started to become more aware of its contributions to the fight against COVID 19.
A fast and effective mode of transport, airplanes have been used to deliver medical equipment and masks all around the world. When there was a shortage of ventilators it was the aviation industry that played a part in supplying the demand; ensuring that equipment got to where it needed to be. With lockdowns in place there has been less demand for passenger travel which has resulted in some passenger airlines using their space to deliver masks and gloves. Aer Lingus has been routinely flying five of its aircraft from Beijing to Ireland to help deliver much needed health supplies (2). With many countries seeing a spike in infections there has been a greater demand for medical staff to help in locations where the health system has been overwhelmed with cases. The aviation industry has helped in this matter by transporting people to where they are needed. On 12th March a Chinese delegation of a dozen doctors and nurses was sent to Italy on a China Eastern flight to help the country deal with its rate of infection (3).
During the early stages of the pandemic there was a general hysteria that led to stock-piling and an increased demand for more produce. Airplanes and freight carriers are the fastest modes of transport for delivering goods around the world. Air transport has helped keep up with supply chains around the world and played an integral part in feeding nations. United Cargo President, John Krems, has spoken of the industry’s vital role during this time by stating that “United airlines utilise their network capabilities to get vital shipments such as food to areas that need them most.”(4) Once a vaccine does become available the aviation industry will play a huge role in helping to distribute treatment globally. Vaccines need to be handled delicately and stored at a specific temperature and airplanes have the necessary equipment to do this. Many airlines are already implementing changes that will ensure the safety of crew and those helping to move equipment and goods from one point to another.
Despite all the setbacks the aviation industry has faced it has proved itself to be able to adapt to current measures and meet demand. While we work on a vaccine the aviation industry will be here to respond to the needs of the world. And once we open up our gates again the industry will take us on and prepare us for a future of travel in a safer world.
© 2020 Whitestone Chambers