While commercial airlines adapt to changing passenger expectations as a result of COVID-19, business aircraft operators haven’t experienced the same challenges. During the recent virtual Corporate Jet Investor (CJI) Global conference, industry leaders came together to discuss how the business aviation industry is shifting in today’s environment to meet the growing demands of business travelers.
Unlike the commercial segment, business aviation numbers are consistent with 2019 and 2020 is expected to be a year of growth, particularly driven by charter operations. In a time when social distancing and minimal points of contact are imperative, the appeal of chartering can be compelling.
In a recent session during CJI Global 2020, Dori Henderson, Vice President Business Aviation and Digital Solutions at Collins Aerospace, discussed the current environment for business aviation and the opportunities afforded by continued innovation.
“From a business aviation perspective, we are very encouraged; our departures are nearly 80 percent of what they were in 2019. From our perspective, we knew the airlines were going to experience challenges and, as people are less comfortable [flying commercially], the shift is going to happen on the charter side,” Henderson shared during her conversation with the CJI Global delegates. “Departures are up, which is extraordinarily encouraging and we’re also seeing demand for connectivity trending up as well and we expect that to continue.”
Henderson expanded on the company’s focus on digital technology. “This is a really exciting time to be in aviation as we think about how we’re leveraging digital services and technology and how customers are embracing it,” Henderson stated. “Our customers want to do more on their own. What they do in their private life as a consumer is bleeding into what they do when they come into work every day.”
Customers today are looking for smarter solutions, namely data-driven technologies that enable them to make informed decisions faster with the information they need all in one place, Henderson explained. Collins Aerospace refers to this as the “single interaction” approach. Customers are also looking for device agnostic solutions that offer an easy way for these tools to be leveraged on any platform.
Another important factor that Henderson pointed out is using technology to tailor the experience based on the type of information that person needs to do their job.
“[Customers are] really focused on not only going to one place and how they want to interact with the device, but interacting in a way that’s meaningful to them so they’re not having to change their behavior to fit into a tool that’s ‘one-size-fits-all.’ It just doesn’t work that way anymore,” Henderson stated.
As the business aviation segment becomes more self-service oriented, especially as more and more touchless best practices are implemented across the aviation ecosystem, integrating solutions that enable that type of interaction is crucial for leaders in this market.
You can learn more about data-driven innovation for business aviation customers from Henderson’s full presentation from CJI Global 2020 here.