VOL. 22 May ISSUE YEAR 2021

MFN Trainer Column

in Vol. 22 - May Issue - Year 2021
Aviation during the Covid pandemic
Marco Klijsen

Marco Klijsen

I seldom write about timely subjects because I begin developing an article some months before the publication of the magazine. And, as we know, a lot can happen in these couple of months. The Covid pandemic will however, have such a long lasting impact on the global economy, that I felt an article on our industry’s response to the pandemic was a relevant topic, especially since the massive impact of the global pandemic can be noticed in the aviation industry. Where the number of flights and the number of passengers and cargo has been annually increasing over the past number of years, we have seen these figures falling back to almost zero since the outbreak of the Covid pandemic. No one could ever have imagined in the beginning of 2020 that this would happen, with such a drastic impact as we have noticed. And we are still in the middle of it.

Since the outbreak in the beginning of 2020, the pandemic is still not under control at a global scale.
We have seen and still see the devastating effects of this pandemic on many regions all over the world. Many of us have suffered and are still suffering from the impact. We have lost beloved ones, we have seen companies battling against the fight, we have lost jobs, and currently, there is only a little light on the horizon.

Air flight schedules have been disrupted and rescheduled to the minimum – or even cancelled.
Airlines have been searching for good parking locations to park their planes unmanned and unused. We have seen them everywhere, even at former closed airports which have been brought “back to life” for safely parking unused planes.

Our business – servicing the aviation industry – has however, remained open. Service engineers continued to fulfil their tasks and most office people have been working from home. We all had to adapt to the tele-commuting as a “new way of working” and instead of travelling to meet customers, video conference calls were introduced as the new daily way of communication. Instead of being face-to-face in a room or on a shop floor, one had to accept non-personal calls from office and/or home desks.

Although these changes were marked as non-useful, non-personal and inefficient in the beginning, we have all had to accept them as the one-and-only alternative.
Multiple developments in software platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Team and the like have made us feel more and more comfortable being able to speak to someone “in person”, although from a distance and through a screen.

We all felt the need to continue in this way and later on learnt and accepted these tools as helpful and contributing to continue our businesses. We even learnt these alternatives as very efficient, as we could plan multiple sessions during one day, where previously this cost multiple days with multiple people travelling around the globe prior to the pandemic.

In May 2020, we even successfully passed our first-ever Factory Acceptance Tests (FAT) scheduled with one of our appreciated customers for a complicated machine. Where normally 3 to 4 engineers were travelling to our place and were testing the machine and all its functionalities for 3 to 4 days, we now prepared dedicated process-related videos demonstrating machine capabilities and functionalities.
And in the end, we were all happy with the new way of completing the Factory Acceptance test runs.
This new way of demonstrating machine capabilities and functionalities might be the way forward for the future.

Having said this, this development will reduce the number of air plane passengers for the future. 
A future which is unknown for many companies and for many of us as well.
It will take a long, long time and be a long, hard road before air flight passenger travel will get back to historical levels as we knew, prior to the pandemic. It is even realistic to conclude that the landscape has been changed forever.

We have learnt that the environmental footprint of the aviation industry has caused many effects, and we have also learnt that we cannot overcome Nature. 
I am however, strongly convinced we will overcome the Covid pandemic, and  that we as a community are more than ready to discover our new way of living and working in the post-Coronavirus period.

For questions contact: marco@mfn.li

Author: Marco Klijsen