As we all know, the Covid-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on the airline industry. Whilst the rolling out of vaccines across the globe provides some light at the end of the tunnel, the short-term outlook for airlines remains bleak.
However, there are a growing number of entrepreneurs who see opportunity in the turmoil caused by the pandemic, and are poised to take advantage. The arguments for taking the undoubted risk of setting up an airline in the current climate are compelling:
- low set-up costs (e.g. lease rates);
- availability of experienced staff;
- the emergence of new routes;
- gaps in the market left by failed airlines; and
- the opportunity to start from scratch (putting in place modern customer-focused systems, investing in green technology etc).
However, these new airline projects will, of course, have significant funding requirements. Accessing such funding will, in itself, be a considerable barrier to entry.
Whilst it's difficult to see positives arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, it is worth considering whether it has precipitated a shake-up of the industry that will benefit all of us (and not just the entrepreneurs looking to reap the financial rewards).
However, while things look bleak, there are upsides to using 2020-21 as a staging year for operations. By hiring staff, leasing aircraft, and picking up slots in a downturn, airlines can get a head start on the upcoming aviation recovery. Expect the future aviation industry to look a lot different than the one left behind.