It’s with a huge sense of relief that I write this issue’s editorial, as a return to some kind of normality in the aviation sector finally looks like taking shape. Figures from IATA give reason for cautious optimism: total demand for air travel in March may have been down 67.2 per cent compared to March 2019, but this was a distinct improvement over the 74.9 per cent decline recorded in February.
The amelioration in performance was driven by gains in domestic markets, particularly China. Total domestic demand was down 32.3 per cent versus pre-crisis levels, but greatly improved over February, when domestic traffic was down 51.2 per cent versus the 2019 period.
In our Taking Flight feature on page 34, we examine what measures airlines and industry suppliers alike are taking to ensure that passengers can return to the skies with complete confidence. These include protective kits for crew and passengers; antimicrobial cleaning products; ultraviolet disinfection treatments; plus zero-touch technology when it comes to inflight entertainment and connectivity.
There’s something of a Made in Italy feel to our content this month. In our regular Design Update (page 18) we look at how Naples-based Geven has partnered with UK design agency PriestmanGoode to develop a new family of aircraft seats across four different cabin classes.
Meanwhile, our In Conversation interview features brand new low-cost carrier EGO Airways, the brainchild of Milanese entrepreneur Matteo Bonecchi. Read about how he plans to connect lesser known destinations across the Italian peninsula on page 24.
Plus, seasoned contributor Paul Eden reviews the continued evolution of LED lighting and speaks to key industry figures to find out how exactly this technology is helping airline customers to enjoy a more pleasant flight experience (page 30).
Enjoy the issue; we return in late summer with features on paints & coatings and environmental controls.