AIX Virtual 2021 Show Preview

AIX Virtual 2021 Show Preview

The events of the past 18 months have impacted on every aspect of travel, including the aircraft interiors market, which has in turn been badly affected by the almost total paralysis of the aviation industry. Analysis from the Air Transport Action Group shows that up to 4.8 million jobs in aviation may be lost overall, a 43 per cent reduction from pre-Covid levels.

These include highly skilled aviation roles, the wider tourism jobs impacted by the lack of air travel and employment throughout the supply chain in construction, catering supplies, professional services and all the other things required to run a global transport system.

Cabin retrofits naturally declined in the wake of the economic shutdown caused by the pandemic, meaning that the vast majority of suppliers have had their programmes put on hold. Airlines are in survival mode and are focusing on cash conservation and fleet reduction. The primary focus now is on a clean cabin and those hygiene initiatives designed to achieve that.

Looking at potential cabin enhancements that are likely to be implemented post-Covid, these include touchless inflight technology, with wireless IFE for instance, while the use of lighter coloured interiors that give a clean appearance and enhance passenger confidence will become popular. In addition, an increasing number of surface materials will incorporate anti-microbial properties.

All sources suggest that there is light at the end of the tunnel: IATA predicts a “much stronger revenue environment in 2022”, with a stronger second half for 2021 as some international markets open between advanced economies in Europe and North America, as well as a few in other regions. The industry association expects full-year 2021 passenger numbers to be 52 per cent of pre-Covid levels, rising to 88 per cent in 2022. By 2023, it expects passenger numbers to rise to 105 per cent of 2019 levels.

Overall, therefore, this is the ideal time for the sector to come together and look to the future with optimism – and WTCE Virtual is the ideal place to do that. We very much look forward to seeing what innovations are showcased and what new relationships are forged at this unmissable event for our industry.

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