Circumnavigating an airline industry rebound in an era of feigned grievances.
These can be turbulent times to start, grow or maintain an airline if you don’t mute out the noise. I’m not referring to profit and loss, although some commercial airlines might argue that point, but more so from sociological, environmental and health perspectives. Some of the loudest voices on social media, for instance, who breathlessly rail against the industry, are the same people that fly often, fly private or even, own their own plane.
The onset of Covid has only magnified the negative spotlight on the industry. With the media and news outlets focusing more on mask guidelines and the relatively small, but to be fair, growing percentage of unruly passengers who disrupt a flight rather than the flight attendant that helps a passenger get their bag in the overhead compartment or the captain of a private plane that misses a special occasion with his or her family because they have an emergency medical flight that departs at 5am.
What’s missing from the argument against the big, bad government bailed out commercial airlines and the private aviation industry, thought to only cater to the elite, is the same thing that is missing in most arguments. And that’s taking the time and having the willingness to patiently listen to the other side.
Airline executives, as a whole, have the same wants and environmental goals as everyone else. We all strive, each and every day for the best possible outcomes for each passenger in every seat that we sell. We want the best for our employees, 1.2 million of them nationally and over 87 million worldwide, and their families. But no industry transforms overnight; it’s not like flicking on a light switch. Most industries have to change organically over time. This is especially true of an industry that does business up to forty thousand feet in the air.
Airline owners and executives are excited about the prospect of zero emission electric aircraft. But their availability for public and general aviation use is years, if not decades away from being a reality. Instead of arguing and finger pointing, our industry leaders and other groups should focus more on shared goals and work together; listening to one another and being patient with each other. But most of all, let’s remember that the loudest voices are usually not the ones with anyone’s best interest but their own in mind. Let’s work together to fly above the noise.