Routes Reconnected: Airlines with 'dare and imagination' will recover stronger in Asia

Panelists suggest those that challenge preconceived notions of how things must work will prosper when COVID-19 subsides.

Those airlines with the “dare and imagination” to rethink their products and strategy will emerge stronger from the pandemic crisis, a senior figure at Singapore Airlines has said.

Philip Goh, VP for Southwest Pacific at the flag-carrier, said airlines with the “means to do more” and the courage to innovate will succeed, both in low-cost and full-service segments.

“If you're prepared to challenge the status quo, if you're prepared to look beyond the short-term and work towards your ambitions, particularly on the sustainability point of view, and bring your unit costs down, you can identify a lot of opportunities,” Goh said. “This is the perfect time to revisit some of those things.” 

Goh, who was speaking at a Routes Reconnected 2020 panel session on the future of the Asia-Pacific market, also predicted the region would be the first to recover from the COVID-19 crisis. However, it faces a “long and winding road” back to recovery, he said.

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Fellow panelist Lyell Strambi, the CEO of Melbourne Airport (MEL), also spoke of the need to “reimagine the business.”

“One of the great things a crisis like this will do is knock down those barriers to change; those preconceived notions of how things must work,” Strambi said. “You're prepared to take a little bit more risk and seize the moment of low activity levels to experiment with some new things.”