Researchers have assessed the initial impact of Covid-19 on air transport and found that it is likely to lead to a smaller, consolidated sector in the future.
The research, led by Cranfield University, involved a series of in-depth interviews with senior aviation industry executives, along with analysis of flight and air freight data. The paper is published in the Journal of Transport Geography.
In the drop in flight numbers since March, data showed the impact has been stronger in international than domestic markets. Interviewees thought the crisis would lead to consolidation and a significantly smaller industry.
“Along with other sectors of the economy, air traffic is vulnerable to external factors, such as oil crises, natural disasters, armed conflicts, terrorist attacks, economic recessions and disease outbreaks. The findings of this paper represent an early assessment that can help the aviation industry and other related industries like tourism in the preparation for the recovery period,” Dr Pere Suau-Sanchez, Senior Lecturer in Air Transport Management at Cranfield University, said in a statement.
* Full-service network carriers are likely to be major losers since the recovery in international markets will be slower and they may face new competition with the potential entry of new airlines in their home hub markets.
* Regional airlines were identified as possible short-term winners during the recovery period as they could potentially help FSNCs adjust their feeding capacity.
* Low-cost carriers are expected to concentrate in primary markets with possible entry in hub airports, and a general reduction in frequencies at the route level.
* Regional and secondary airports are likely to lose out as capacity is freed up in larger markets, attracting airlines and enabling larger hub airports to reinforce their positions.
Interviewees were concerned about the recovery of business travel, mainly due to the cancellation of meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibitions (MICE) events, and the uneven lift of travel bans. Teleworking was seen as a serious threat to demand, with the current context of digital transformation and cloud apps offering better solutions for teleworking than the traditional videoconference.
The leisure passenger segment was expected to be recover faster. But reduced disposable incomes would curtail propensity to fly. Fear and health concerns were identified as major issues for leisure travellers, more so than for business travellers.
All interviewees believed new health screening controls would translate into higher costs for airports and passengers, but did not consider social distancing to be a viable commercial option for airlines.
Source: Cranford University
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines