FTE, APEX & Fast Future report: Digital transformation, automation and CX among investment priorities for airlines and airports amid COVID-19 disruption

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The COVID-19 Air Transport Near Term Impacts and Scenarios report – jointly produced and published by Fast Future, FTE and APEX – is now available for download via the Fast Future website.

According to a new report released jointly by Fast Future, Future Travel Experience (FTE) and the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX). Security and confidence building are also highlighted as central pillars of industry recovery.

The COVID-19 Air Transport Near Term Impacts and Scenarios report, which is the first installment in the four-part Air Transport 2035 series, explores how stakeholders expect the COVID-19 crisis to affect passenger volumes and investment strategies. It also highlights four possible scenarios for how the industry could emerge from the pandemic.

A global survey conducted as part of the report found that over the next two years, 68.4% of respondents expect investment in digital transformation to increase; 60.3% expect increased investment in automation and deployment of artificial intelligence (AI) technology; and 54.2% expect increased spending on sustainability and environmental initiatives. More than half (53.5%) expect investment in innovation to increase over the same period, and 48.5% expect a recovery in customer experience and services, with less than a quarter (22.9%) expecting a drop in investment in this area.

At the other end of the scale, three-quarters (75.5%) of survey respondents expect investment in aircraft orders to decline over the next two years, while 55.3 % expect a decrease in spending on the design and construction of air terminals.

Air transport faces a recovery period of two to three years

During a webinar on April 23, which included the unveiling of the first results of the survey, a live poll of the more than 900 participants revealed that 44.6% of respondents expect it to take until It takes two years for the airline industry to return to 2019 levels of business, and 36.8% expect it to take up to three years. Only 5.8% believe the industry will return to 2019 levels within 12 months.

Another live poll during the webinar revealed that 39.9% of respondents expect the public to feel comfortable flying again once new procedures are introduced to protect passengers. 32.4% expect consumer confidence to return once a COVID-19 vaccine is released; 11.6% expect people to fly only if they have to; and 10.3% expect advice from the World Health Organization (WHO) to dictate when people will feel comfortable flying again.

Daniel Coleman, Founder and CEO of Future Travel Experience, said: “There is no doubt that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will be felt for some time to come and it is more important than ever for airports, Airlines and their partners are taking action now to prepare for the new reality. Prioritizing health and safety is a no-brainer, but all stakeholders must also be committed to delivering a contactless, queue-free and fully sanitized end-to-end travel experience that is as automated as possible. . Radical new approaches and collaboration between all parties are essential to realize this vision and support the survival of the airline industry.

Rohit Talwar, CEO of Fast Future and lead author of the report, said: “The findings underscore that the industry is experiencing and anticipating devastating effects on flight volumes, passenger numbers and revenue. The recovery of the sector depends on government policy, health factors, passenger confidence, the nature of the economic recovery and the extent of collaboration among industry players. We developed four scenarios exploring the interplay of these last two driving forces and tested them on webinar participants.

“’Survival of the Safest’ (deep recession/fragmented industry response) was ranked most likely by 32% of respondents. This was followed by “Love in a Cold Climate” (deep recession/coordinated industry response) with 30% of votes, and another 20% selected “Hope and Glory” (robust and integrated economic recovery/response fragmented industry). The scenario considered the least likely and selected by only 18% was the most optimistic scenario of “Sealed and Secure” (Robust and Integrated Global Recovery / Co-ordinated Industry Response).

Dr Joe Leader, CEO of the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) and the International Flight Services Association (IFSA), added: “Over 75% of survey respondents still believe in five key areas where spending airlines and airports will increase or stay the same despite the headwinds of COVID-19. The winners in this challenging time are digital transformation, automation, sustainability, innovation, and customer experience and service. This is good news for APEX and IFSA member airlines and suppliers.

Download the full report – free for airlines, airports and government agencies

The COVID-19 Air Transport Near Term Impacts and Scenarios report is now available for download via the Fast Future website. As part of the study partners’ commitment to the industry during these challenging times, airlines, airports and government aviation agencies can access the report free of charge – email aviation@fastfuture .com to request your copy. It only costs $50 for others, and all four reports can be pre-ordered at a discounted rate. Visit the Fast Future website for details: https://fastfuture.com/product-category/ebooks/

Part 2 of the Air Transport 2035 report is in preparation. Contribute to our latest flash survey – Impacts of COVID-19 on Aviation: Innovation and Digital Transformation. Click here to take the survey >>

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