Aviation Innovation Post-COVID: As we emerge from the COVID haze and begin to build pace to a new normal, we’re going to have to employ all our expertise and creativity to find new ways of adapting. Aviators once again will have to ignite the power of innovation to find the solutions that can take us out of an uncertain present into a prosperous future. The unprecedented nature of the pandemic has led many organizations to fast-track changes that would have taken a long time to implement in normal conditions. It’s during times of crisis when immediate circumstances demand swift responses that indecisiveness is forced away. And since innovation has always been at the heart of aviation, we can see our industry already making massive strides.
Some airports are busy adapting to the new situation by using ‘CleanTech’ – cleaning technology. AsianAviation.com reports that Hong Kong Airport Authority is currently trialing a disinfectant booth that checks employee temperatures and douses them with protective chemicals. Other disinfection and sanitizing technologies like autonomous cleaning robots, antimicrobial coatings on all surfaces to destroy bacteria.
Adapting aircraft to the requirements of social distancing may be more challenging. Ensuring a safe distance between passengers has led to suggestions that airlines should keep the middle seats free, limiting capacity to around 65%. This suggestion has already been rebuffed by many as the death toll of affordable air travel. According to AviationBusinessME.com, two leading carriers in Europe have already begun working on alternative solutions to this debacle involving a combination of pre- and in-flight measures. And Abu Dhabi International Airport, Etihad is trialing new self-service devices designed to monitor passengers’ temperatures, heart, and respiratory rates.
By consulting with medical experts, employing ingenuity and creativity, airlines and operators can find cost-effective alternative ways of ensuring safe travel. Our innovation and ability to achieve sustainability is being tested, and I’ve no doubt our industry will overcome.