05 Oct

Will the current crisis ground aviation?

Or will operators find a way through turbulent market and secure passenger support?

Customer experience and loyalty continue to dominate business considerations across most industries today. For some markets, though, COVID-19 and lockdown has caused massive operational problems. Aviation is a striking example and according to leading independent customer relationship management company LoyaltyPlus, operators will need to give serious thought on how to best reassure customers of safety, security and efficiency going forward.

LoyaltyPlus has over 25 years’ experience in the development and application of cutting-edge programmes and partnerships and its leadership in helping businesses ensure their customers remain loyal to their brands while optimising all touchpoints and customer experiences.

As an experienced services provider, the company is able to accurately assess what works and what doesn’t for businesses in their efforts to attract and retain customers.

LoyalyPlus says there has been extensive coverage in the media about the impact of lockdown conditions on aviation, with numerous reports of airlines announcing retrenchments and of operators having to close doors.

“At the very least, COVID-19 has temporarily clipped the wings of the industry, so to speak, and at the very best, air travel as it has been experienced to date, will not be the same.

One of the main reasons given is because of a drop in customer demand. Given the restrictions imposed on movements, people simply haven’t had a reason to travel – and if there has been, flying has not been top of the list of ways to do it.

Moreover, government policy and regulations to curb the spread of the pandemic has meant a closure of borders, which limited air travel, closing off international air travel and reducing flights to domestic routes only, for example.

As International Airport Review online explains, airport revenue generation is directly linked to traffic levels, flight cancellations or bans. So grounded aircraft, no flights and no paying customers means no revenue.

And how much of an impact has this scenario had on the industry? In an article published by Calcalisttech.com, Wizz Air Holdings CEO József Váradi said one-third of all airlines will not survive the pandemic.

BBC.com reported on the announcement from British Airways’ parent company IAG that it anticipated cutting up to 12 000 positions.

Forbes.com quotes the International Air Transport Association as saying that global losses could reach billions of dollars, and lists Virgin Australia, Miami Air International, Air Mauritius and South African Airways among industry casualties.

LoyaltyPlus believes while there is no denying the enormous pressure the industry is under, now is the time to focus on the customer experience, rewarding loyalty and ensuring that those who utilise aviation services derive maximum value.

Now, perhaps more than ever before, operators have to do what they can to incentivise customers, review air travel bonuses or loyalty programmes and strengthen reputations.

The company says passenger numbers will slowly increase and some airlines are relying on regional and international travel to function to full capacity.

Airlines will have to put new plans and methods in place to save costs and to think out of the box to make plans for the future, as all airlines and aviators have taken a huge knock in an already stretched financial environment.

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