The Impact of COVID-19 on Aviation Industry and the Path Forward

The Impact of COVID-19 on Aviation Industry and the Path Forward

What are some of the major challenges and trends that have been impacting the Aviation space lately?

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the whole world, breaking traditions and changing the ways of doing business. Aviation is one of the sectors most impacted by this situation. The aviation industry, which by its nature is exposed to crises, has experienced many crises of various scales in the past. However, never before had there been a period like this when flights we had to suspend flights completely for two months. The decreased desire to travel due to health concerns, and the travel restrictions introduced to combat the pandemic, have caused significant contractions in demand. Here it became essential to adapt to the new circumstances with new business habits and strategies. As with all industry stakeholders, we have shown tremendous effort during this challenging period and we continue to do so. The main challenge affecting the aviation industry, and indeed all industries, remains the pandemic.

What keeps you up at night when it comes to some of the major predicaments in the Aviation space?

In the aviation industry, almost all the systems we operate have to be up and running 24/7. This is our number one requirement for ensuring the smooth flow of our operations. Additionally, there are many scenarios that can play out that instantly affect our operations such as weather conditions, conditions at the airport, and other such reasons. It is also important that the systems we have in place are able to respond to all these changes, in other words, they should be highly flexible. All these factors are critical to our ability to provide our guests with a pleasant travel experience. To sleep comfortably at night, we are constantly developing new projects across all the processes in our operational chain, starting with the systems that are passenger touchpoints. For example, we have carried out a new project for ground handling personnel to perform their tasks in an optimised, timely and accurate way. Using a mobile app, employees can keep track of their own tasks and responsibilities, and in the case of a flight disruption in the system, tasks are automatically assigned to each person accordingly. All our efforts are geared towards making sure that the right person is in the right place at the right time. In a similar way to this example, we are continuously working to improve our operational capability in other areas as well.

" To sleep comfortably at night, we are constantly developing new projects across all the processes in our operational chain, starting with the systems that are passenger touchpoints "

Can you tell us about the latest project that you have been working on and what are some of the technological and process elements that you leveraged to make the project successful?

I would like to tell you about our 360 ​​Flight Search project that we have been working on recently. With 360 Flight Search, our guests can search for the most affordable flight tickets available each day on a monthly and annual basis. In this way, our passengers with flexible travel dates can plan better-value journeys. As the basis of this project, we utilised the cache system. The cache system responds particularly well in situations where there’s a high number of searches. One of the most important technical processes that contributed to the success of the project is the load and consistency testing that we conducted across a wide variety of scenarios before we implemented the project. The reasoning is that our guests should not have to wait for long to find the most affordable monthly/yearly airfares and that the ticket prices must be consistent. We put the system online for three months before making it accessible to our guests while we completed all sorts of load tests and consistency tests. Thanks to that, we were able to offer a good experience to our guests as soon as we made the transition. Of course, these are methods we implement in terms of technology and process aspects. The most important factor that contributed to the success of the project is our team of employees who perform their duties with positivity, despite having to work mainly remotely during the pandemic period.

What are some of the technological trends which excite you for the future of the Aviation space?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the important new technologies that excites us the most. In aviation, in addition to the data processed by an e-commerce company, there is a very high volume of flight-related data processed on the ground and onboard. We have carried out a lot of work so far to determine what sort of actions we can take to increase productivity. The monitoring of KPIs was a useful parameter in our evaluation of these actions. Now it’s the time to look at things differently and open new doors. And AI can help us to do so. A machine that you teach can process much more data than the human brain can process for you and guide you about the actions that can be taken. It is possible to benefit in the fields of efficiency, quality, cost management and safety. Another important technology is the Internet of Things (IoT). It's a technology we're working on specifically for use in airport management. We are trying to use this technology to prepare the necessary equipment at exactly the right time for when the plane lands.

How can budding and evolving companies reach you for suggestions to streamline their business?

It is part of our company policy to try our best to continuously keep up with the latest innovations. We have the vision to be one of the top three airlines in the world for the best use technology. With that in mind, we obtain, research, and analyse every bit of new information to assess how we can make the best use of it. We work with many local and international suppliers. We make a special effort to collaborate with universities. In addition to our products, we also integrate ready-made solutions when they add value to our business. Therefore, we are always happy to hear from companies with good ideas and good products. We have a compact organisational structure, which means that any company that reaches out to us will be directed to the right point of contact in the company. For example, you can contact me, via Arto Mıhcıyan, via LinkedIn.

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