With rising concerns over climate change and increasing commitment from travel companies to become carbon neutral in the future, cleaner aviation is needed. It is vital that airlines adapt to this emerging demand and harness technology to create new, greener ways of flying.
According to the latest COVID-19 Recovery Consumer Survey (October, 7-11), 43% of respondents globally said that they are always or often influenced by how ethical/environmentally-friendly/socially responsible a product or service is. This means airlines that react quickest to the growing desire for sustainable travel will hold a competitive advantage over rivals, thereby potentially becoming more appealing to nearly half of all travelers.
Taking into account the global COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a dramatic shift in market needs and wants. Airlines that react quickest to these changing demands will have an opportunity to cement themselves as market leaders within the aviation industry and accelerate recovery.
Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) is a clean substitute for fossil jet fuels. Rather than being made from petroleum, SAF is produced from sustainable sources such as waste oils, agriculture residues, or non-fossil CO2. The adoption of SAF could attract a significant number of travelers that are growing increasingly concerned about the emissions that airlines are creating, thereby helping to meet their own sustainability goals as individuals.
COVID-19 has also changed customer needs. Companies that react quickest to new demands from travelers due to COVID-19 will find themselves in the best position to recover from the pandemic.
Increased health and safety procedures will be at the forefront of customer expectations and it has been suggested that a new ‘Gen-C’ tourist will emerge from the pandemic. This tourist will not be defined by traditional demographics, but a need for reassurances around health and safety. Airlines that can tap into this market will be most likely to experience a stronger recovery than their competitors.
There will likely be an increased demand for low-cost airlines as the survey states that 47% of respondents globally believe that the economic situation in their country will worsen in the coming month. Furthermore, over a quarter (27%) of respondents believe their own personal financial situation will worsen.
This highlights the growing role that budget airlines will likely play in the aviation market over the coming years and full-service airlines will likely need to adopt similar pricing strategies to compete in an already hyper-competitive industry.