The future of aviation depends on greater operational efficiency

Maggie Wang
October 12, 2020

When Covid-19 was first reported in December 2019, no one could have predicted that it would present so many challenges nor so many opportunities. To date, there are twenty million plus infections, over a million deaths, and trillions of dollars in economic losses. Yet, at the same time, Covid-19 has forced industries of all kinds to adapt and rethink their ways of doing business, and we can only continue to learn from this experience.

In the aviation industry, Covid-19 has led to thousands of cancellations and layoffs. The International Civil Aviation Organization projects the industry will lose up to $386 billion in revenue in 2020 and up to $83 billion in revenue in the first quarter of 2021 (ICAO, July 2020). This represents a decrease in seat capacity of nearly 50% or a total loss of nearly 3.5 billion passengers.

For an industry that normally generates well over $800 billion in revenue per year, Covid-19 comes as a tremendous shock. Many major airlines have filed for bankruptcy or scrambled to arrange bailouts, and those on the road to recovery will face numerous challenges. Commercial aviation accelerated the initial spread of the virus, and airlines will need to preserve public trust to revive demand. Even if revenue losses fall short of the worst estimates, cutting operating costs while maintaining high standards of service will be essential going forward.

Those on the road to recovery are facing numerous challenges. Photo by Artur Tumasjan

One method of cutting costs is to increase fuel efficiency. Fuel comprises around 20% of airline operating costs, but some of this fuel is wasted—for example, by running extra engines while taxiing or at the gate. Signol's 'nudges' are the only proven method to help airlines cut fuel waste and operating costs while improving pilot job satisfaction. Covid-19 presents an unprecedented opportunity to reshape the aviation industry and implement more efficient practices moving forwards, and Signol is prepared to lead this change.

Accounting for the human aspect of fuel consumption is as important as ever. Similar to a Fitbit for work - Signol connects individuals to the direct impact of their actions, driving them to make measurable fuel cost and CO2 savings for airlines and other businesses, whilst improving their well-being. Now, in particular, cutting fuel costs will allow airlines to adapt and restructure as needed without sacrificing seat capacity.

Adaptive leadership—the willingness to initiate large-scale change—will be crucial to doing business in a post-Covid-19 world. Even after Covid-19 ceases to be a widespread medical concern, its economic and social impacts will continue to unfold. We at Signol believe the pandemic holds tremendous promise for adopting new ways of working. By becoming more efficient, the airline industry can not only make a successful recovery but secure a cleaner and more affordable future. Signol is here to help. Why not get in touch?

Top image by Scott Graham

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About Signol

Signol is a software platform that draws on insights from behavioral economics to encourage employees to make more efficient decisions. Signol provides personalized feedback through multiple communication channels, as well as data analysis for managers. In aviation, Signol aims to use behavioral "nudges" and incentives to reduce pollution and fuel waste and cut operating costs.

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