While the horizon remains foggy for the airline industry as the Coronavirus pandemic keeps deepening the travel crisis for months on end, ECHO, a TECH-startup is offering airlines a lifeboat to get off the crashing slope. Indeed, though many have been hoping for a return to normality in the sky, the reality is as mentioned by Forbes much more complicated. Indeed more than 40 major airlines grounded their entire fleet and other airlines have suspended 90% of their activities. These market observations have been tackled by several other outlets including, CNBC, BBC, Business Insider and all their experts agree that a return to normality is highly unlikely to happen anytime soon and that most scenarios require a major change in travel habits. This new reality has to be accepted by the airlines because surviving this phase will require adaptation.
For those who don’t know ECHO, we are a Tech-Provider dedicated to commercial aviation and we have developed the first online cabin designer platform where aviation stakeholders can design, verify certification rules, collaborate and share cabin layouts. For the past 5 months, we have been working on supporting the airlines in making the most out of their cabins during the entire coronavirus pandemic and we came up with 3 major adaptation plans to fit every airline size and budget.
1- Adapt your offer system.
As load-factors remain low a well-distributed seating map is the best way to make passengers feel safer as social distancing measures are respected. For this, we at ECHO have developed a powerful “Smart Ruler” that automatically calculates the distances between passengers and seats in any cabin configuration. Even more, when prompted it can advise which seats are to be sold and which ones are to be blocked to get the optimal load-Factor/Safety ratio.
2- Explore new seat pitches:
Less is really more! With one or two seat-rows removed, variating seat pitches can increase your load-factor / safety ratio and help you block fewer seats, thus increasing returns. At ECHO we have made this process easier thanks to our online cabin designer as you can easily add and remove cabin items. Even better, you can simply drag and drop your seats within the cabin canvas until you find the perfect pitch and simply replicate it to the rest of the cabin in one click. Of course thanks to our verification engine with every move made on the cabin canvas, certification rules are verified along the way.
3- Time for Hybrids:
The notion of hybrid carriers isn’t really new, but as previous business models were pretty much successful before the pandemic, there weren't really high incentives to explore new models. This sudden global health crisis came in with a new set of urgent needs, including a surplus in cargo, lack emergency medical units and even quarantine zones. We’ve seen several airlines who switched their business model from passenger to cargo and others who temporarily lent their aircrafts to their governments for medical evacuations. We studied the full transformation of these aircrafts and their impact on helping airlines survive the crisis through the cash they generate and we enriched our own online cabin designer library to be able to transform any commercial cabin into different types of hybrids in less than 48 hours including cargo/passenger MedEvac/Cargo MedEvac/Business and so on…
Like all economic crises, history has shown that companies who were able to adapt and were lean and responsive ended up surviving and even thriving of the crisis itself. Though the reality is harsh for all those working in the aviation industry it is important to swim and stay afloat.