Routes Reconnected: Aviation leaders look forward to post-COVID world

'We’re in an entirely new era in powered flight, even as we confront this dire threat to our traditional operations,' ICAO's president says.

Innovation and collaboration must be at the heart of the aviation industry’s recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, the leaders of ICAO and ACI World have told Routes Reconnected 2020.

Speaking on the second day of Routes’ first-ever virtual conference, ICAO secretary general Fang Liu warned of the “cascading risks for travel, tourism, businesses, and civil societies in many areas of socio-economic and sustainable development” should aviation not recover swiftly.

“A world not connected by scheduled flights is a world where countries face challenges to their long and short-term needs for fresh fruits and vegetables, vaccines, and medical supplies,” Liu said.

Liu also highlighted e-commerce, which has been a “beacon of economic growth throughout the pandemic” as another industry that would be “seriously and globally constrained” without aviation.

And this recovery requires the industry working in concert and innovating to both face the challenges ahead and capitalize on opportunities.

“It’s more important than ever right now to remember that we’re one sector working together,” said Liu. “Our continued solidarity and cooperation will be critical to overcoming this crisis.” 

“Innovation will be critical to all of our objectives going forward, both to make air transport more resilient in the face of future pandemic threats, and to safely integrate the incredible new developments taking place in autonomous and manned sub-orbital supersonic flight.”

“We’re in an entirely new era in powered flight, even as we confront this dire threat to our traditional operations. Long after the pandemic is behind us, aircraft will continue to connect us and our world.”

Also taking part in the event was Luis Felipe de Oliveira, who spoke of the 5.6 billion fall in global passenger numbers and $104.5 billion reduction in revenue caused in by the pandemic in 2020.

Like Liu, Oliveira outlined his expectations that the “world we are entering will be fundamentally different from the one that existed before.”

“This is not the first time that the aviation industry has been profoundly impacted by ground-breaking events,” he said. “The world is changing fast and while the COVID-19 impact on the industry has been far great than previously experienced.

“We cannot do this alone. The industry is stronger together. By coming together to lay the foundations of the recovery we can ensure that the aviation industry can deliver the economic and social benefits to national and global communities that we serve.”

Photo credit: Joe Pries

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