Transform or disappear. That is the slogan that it plans in Latin American airlines, forced by the pandemic to a process of change that includes reduction of routes, signing of alliances, recovery of liquidity and tireless search for customer loyalty.
In an interview with Efe, the legal consultant for the aeronautical sector José Elías del Hierro, the teacher at the Spanish online business school OBS Business School Rut Abad Mijarra and the member of the Center for Research, Outreach and Innovation in Tourism IDITUR-Ostelea Wilson Hoyos analyzed the regional reality and defined the following keys to understand the future of the sector:
COVID-19 will leave fewer routes in Latin America
The first changes that have begun to be felt are the reduction of local routes in each country, in order to optimize resources to the skies that are profitable.
This means that there may be populations that, although they had air frequencies before the pandemic, in this reorganization they do not find alternatives to travel by plane.
That is the case of the Galapagos Islands, in Ecuador, where it was authorized from July 1 to resume operations towards the archipelago.
However, to date, no airline has done so because the profitability of the route lies in international tourism and, despite the fact that Ecuador has already opened its borders for flights from abroad, the planes are still on the ground due to the lack of demand, which leaves the inhabitants of the islands without connectivity with the mainland.
Fight for customer loyalty
In general, the final competition between Latin American airlines, with an emphasis on LATAM, Avianca and Copa Airlines, will be to generate a sense of belonging and to get fans of their brands.
In this way, recovering the confidence of passengers is one of the first objectives to be met and these three groups will set the guidelines for safety protocols and quality of service.
Local airlines, for their part, have the possibility of assimilating these procedures and adapting them much faster to the realities of each locality in order to recover the flow of travelers that allow them to compete for prices with large companies.
A new way of traveling
Beyond speculation about cabin space that has come to include the intention of blocking the middle seat, an investigation by Boeing and Airbus into the behavior of the coronavirus within aircraft has determined that cabin air has been replaced. Frequently, strong filters are effective in removing pathogens.
Despite this, they may not help someone sitting near an infected passenger who coughs.