Just a couple of days before the FlightPlan, hosted by Inmarsat and APEX, we had the opportunity to get some more details from Dominic Walters, Vice President of Inmarsat Aviation:
Q. The aviation industry is experiencing hard times right now. What is most important in your opinion to assure the best industry restart after the coronavirus crisis?
A. The global aviation industry has overcome a significant number of challenges in the past. If you look back over the past two decades alone, we’ve had the likes of SARs, MERs and 9/11, amongst others. We know the impact of COVID-19 will be even larger, but there’s no doubt that our industry will prove its resilience once again and bounce back. While it’s still too early to determine what form the recovery will take, I believe that data and digital transformation will play a vital role in not only helping the industry to accelerate out of the current crisis, but also leading to a permanent evolution in terms of enhanced processes and efficiencies. It will be fundamental to establishing a ‘new normal’ for companies working in aviation.
This is something that several other industries have already gone through during their own past crises. The maritime industry, for example, is another market that Inmarsat serves. We have seen first-hand the impact of the global recession on shipping companies around ten years ago, when countless vessels were parked at transportation hubs such as Singapore. But the maritime industry came back stronger than ever, with new ways of working. It was fascinating to witness the key role that data and digitalisation played. There was a real shift in thinking around the connectivity services we provide for fleets, for example, from being a cost centre to a valuable efficiency driver. In my mind, we will see parallels in how the aviation industry now evolves.
Q. Why has Inmarsat Aviation decided to host an online broadcast event on 29 April?
A. Inmarsat Aviation is normally focused on connecting our industry at 30,000ft, but given the scale of this crisis and the challenges we are all facing, we have joined forces with APEX to develop a unique online broadcast event that will bring our industry together in a safe yet collaborative way and share the views of aviation leaders, experts and analysts. The event is titled ‘FlightPlan: Charting a Course into the Future’ and will examine the current state of the aviation market, how we can accelerate recovery and shape a new future for aviation once the clouds start to clear. It will also drive debate on wider industry issues, from next generation passenger trends and the future of air travel technology to short and long-term solutions for tackling aviation sustainability. In addition, the livestreamed event will include global and regional news updates, as well as a state of the industry analysis.
Q. What do you expect as the result of FlightPlan? A short motivating message to industry colleagues
A. We hope that FlightPlan will provide participants with some insightful learnings - but more than anything - we hope it will offer much-needed relief and confidence that the aviation industry will come out of this, as it has done in other times of crisis. It’s really fantastic that so many others from the industry have also rallied around this event. The response has been beyond our expectations and almost everyone we invited to participate said yes immediately. Despite being extremely busy, they understand the importance of sharing information and supporting each other right now.
We will have contributions from airline executives such as the CEOs of Avianca and Delta Air Lines, in addition to trade bodies such as IATA, the European Space Agency and ATAG, and aviation ecosystem partners like Airbus, Rolls Royce, Collins Aerospace, DT, Honeywell and Panasonic Avionics. You couldn’t ask for a better line-up of aviation thought leaders.
We’re also looking to leaders outside of the industry for inspiration, such as renowned behavioural expert Rory Sutherland, who will be speaking about the expectations of Gen Z consumers – and what airlines should be doing to satisfy these future passengers.
We welcome anyone that works in aviation or has an interest in the industry to join us on the day. They can register now at https://flightplan.wavecast.io/.
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