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Restoring Air Traveler Confidence

Gar Walsh

I’ve travelled quite a lot for work over the years and I’ve gone through all of the associated emotions. The excitement of my very first “free" international trip, the acceptance of a third short notice trip in a month, and finally the barely concealed anger that there is no separate TSA line for people who have never set foot in an airport before.

So it feels weird to say that I would love to get on a plane right now. It’s not that I can’t, but there are obviously some very serious considerations for travelers at the moment and few trips seem as essential as they once did.

"Could I get sick?"

"If I do get sick, will I bring it home and infect my family and friends?"

"If there is no quick way to know if I am sick but asymptomatic, will I spread the disease at my destination?”

“What are airlines doing to protect passengers?”

These are some of the questions that are running through the minds of potential passengers and the inability of airlines to provide satisfactory answers has had a stark impact.

The Impact of a Lack of Traveler Confidence

According to IATA, airlines around the world are expected to lose a record $84 billion in 2020, more than three times the loss made during the financial crisis of 2008.

Boeing’s annual market outlook suggests that the coronavirus pandemic could result in a significantly smaller airline market for the next decade.

And perhaps the bleakest take is that of transport consultant and aviation restructuring expert Hubert Horan. In an interview with the Financial Times’ Alphaville, Horan refers to an imminent airline industry collapse and the unwillingness of executives to face up to this reality.

Corporate travel, perceived as business-critical in many sectors and essential revenue for many travel providers, shows some slight signs of resurgence but a full recovery may take a number of years.

Consumers Value Health and Safety First
In April, PWC surveyed more than 1000 consumers who overwhelmingly intended to return to leisure travel by September, but there is no evidence that this has become a reality.

In the same survey PWC uncovered that above all, brand trust — including confidence in safety and cleanliness, is the top purchase driver among travellers.

Consumers want evidence of safety protocols being followed and they are willing to pay for that reassurance.

While airlines have taken measures to ensure the safety of passengers, they must continue to innovate and, maybe more importantly for restoring passenger confidence, publicise the processes implemented and the data gathered.

There are various challenges associated with this mission:

  • There is a huge amount of operational expenditure associated with designing, implementing, and managing these processes and the accompanying technology.
    This is at odds with the cost-cutting measures necessary for an industry whose earnings have been devastated across the board.
  • Each new partnership for testing, screening, or data collection adds a new layer of complexity and provides diminishing returns when considered across every route to be re-opened. Additionally, as soon as vaccines become available, new solutions will again be necessary.
  • Passengers are simply not familiar with providing sensitive health data to airlines and I for one am not fully comfortable with the idea, even if the end result is reaching my destination.

Build Brand Trust Effortlessly With Shilling

Shilling addresses each of these challenges by providing holistic solutions for airlines and standardize, automate, and scale all of the processes mentioned above.

To be cleared for fly, passengers and crew simply capture the data generated by the processes above in the GatherSafe or alternatively the same functionality can be added to existing airline apps through integrations with the intuitive, developer-friendly Shilling APIs.

  • Management of the health screening processes becomes much more cost efficient with a consistent approach across all solutions and a massive reduction in manual workloads. Our team manages the integration with incumbent technology platforms to seamlessly fit into existing processes.
  • GatherSafe and the Shilling APIs are built to be customizable and extensible. Over time as processes evolve, new processes are added, and new partnerships are forged, the platform will also evolve, relieving airlines of the associated change management costs.
  • All passenger and crew data captured is encrypted on the users device and only exposed with their express consent for the duration of time needed to be cleared to fly.
    Users remain secure in the knowledge that they retain complete control over their sensitive data.

Travel providers that can establish and maintain a reputation as safe and transparent will be among the few who survive this pandemic without a decade-long hangover.

Every day, through conversations with our customers and partners, we are gathering detailed and refined insights on how airlines should approach this challenge.

To join the conversation, get in touch with us at contact us and our team will work with you to schedule a call.

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