With the exception of the commercial cruise lines, no industry has felt the impact of COVID-19 with the same loss of revenue as commercial airlines. The industry anticipates that the impact of COVID-19 will cause an even greater financial loss than either the 9/11 attacks, the 2003 SARS epidemic, or the Great Recession of 2008. With nearly all domestic and international travel at a standstill, many airlines are facing significant financial pressures and making the unprecedented decision to reduce capacity. With air travel in a prolonged decline and the number of new planes being ordered reduced, taking this time to implement MRO safety bumpers and other ground support equipment protection could help airlines save money during this time of crisis.
Understanding the Current Crisis
COVID presents a challenge unlike anything the airline industry has faced before. While 9/11, SARS, and the financial crisis of 2008 all presented economic hurdles, the massive reduction in commercial aviation due to global travel restrictions has left the industry uncertain when, or if, demand will return to its pre-crisis levels. As a result of this financial instability, many commercial airlines have already been forced to make cuts to their capacity through a combination of placing unused aircraft into storage, canceling orders for new aircraft, and operating what’s left of their fleet at lower levels of utilization.
Accurately predicting what long-term effects COVID will have on routine decisions like maintenance, repair, and overhaul activity remains impossible to tell due to the unpredictable nature of the virus and what we currently know. However, in terms of airline revenue, we can easily forecast a loss of anywhere between $8 to $17 billion among North American and Western European carriers alone in 2020.
The financial drain of COVID is expected to cause many airlines to defer or cancel the delivery of aircraft. Following 9/11, orders for new aircraft decreased, cancellations increased, and the pace of new commercial delivery dropped throughout both 2002 and 2003. However, the impact of COVID is anticipated to be far greater, meaning most airlines will simply make do with the current size of their fleet.
With no new aircraft being added to fleets across the U.S., it becomes vital that airlines make protecting their fleet their top priority. This includes the utilization of equipment like impact mitigation safety bumpers an all types of ground support equipment.
Now is the Time to Better Protect
Due to this unprecedented crisis, airlines have turned their attention on cash management and preservation. For many airlines, that will mean far less MRO services and a greater reliance on their existing fleet. However, certain MRO services, like the addition of safety equipment, should be viewed differently. Instead of cutting back, airlines should double down on protection to ensure their current fleet of aircraft remains operational.
With so many planes docked in hangars, now makes the perfect time to conduct safety inspections and improve safety features. At Mantec, we offer a wide range of custom protective safety equipment designed to keep airplanes safe, intact, and operational.
The Flight Safety Foundation estimates that apron damage costs U.S. airlines approximately $5 billion a year. The unfortunate truth about apron damage is that it’s largely a cost of doing business. As long as airplanes need to be moved in and out of hangars, the chance exists that damage to the plane could occur. However, just because something is likely to happen doesn’t make it a forgone conclusion.
With the implementation of safety bumper protection, Mantec can help airlines save significant money otherwise spent repairing damage that resulted from an accident that could have been avoided with the right equipment in place. Now, during a time when airline profits are reaching records lows, saving every dollar possible is vital. Don’t make the mistake of trying to cut costs at the expense of providing your planes with the protection they need. Contact Mantec today to discover more about what our custom safety equipment can do for your fleet.