How Covid-19 is driving innovation in the aviation industry. By Alexander van Deudekom, CEO, Get-e

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It has been well documented how the pandemic has fractured the established certainties of the aviation and travel industry. What is less reported has been the response: an upsurge of adaptation, creativity, and innovation to prepare for what comes next.

As the pandemic continues to force change in all aspects of society, innovation is playing a starring role in enabling us to respond and rebuild for recovery.

Digitalization to the rescue

Innovation and adaptation does not always come in the form of ground-breaking or inspirational developments. The pandemic has also forced businesses to take stock and dispense with archaic inefficiencies, and as a result, has highlighted the key role digitalization has to play.

For almost all industries, embracing digital solutions allows for the streamlining of many administrative burdens, freeing up time and money for other business development-focused activities. In aviation specifically, and as airlines emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to be able to operate with leaner budgets and resources. To do this effectively, intelligent tools can be used to outsource a host of jobs. In Get-e’s case, ground transportation, crew airport transfers and flight disruption management. In the past year, the ability to use technology to manage these processes has been particularly helpful as airlines deal with reduced resources and staff levels.

For example, airlines need to be sure that their aircrew will arrive at the airport on time, with sufficient time to go through their flight briefing and then to the aircraft without causing delays for passengers. Currently, crew managers have to source different transport companies for all regions they are operating within, and book taxis and hotels for each member of the team, which can lead to fluctuating prices, limited overview and a large number of invoices to manage each month. This is costly, and limits flexibility if there are any last-minute changes.  

Get-e’s crew transportation platform is a simple digital solution that automates the manual processes behind crew transportation, bringing airlines a reliable product that allows crew managers to book and track crew transfers quickly and efficiently. Crucially, moving crew management online gives airlines transparency over incurred costs, and because of our global vetted supply and volume, we can source the most competitive pricing for airlines, taking this burden from their hands.

And, in an increasingly digital, AI-powered world, Get-e is dedicated to the highest level of customer service, ensuring there is always a person on the other end of the line when needed. Our operations team, comprising vastly experienced and knowledgeable aviation professionals, can speak 12 languages, with Spanish and English staffed 24/7. All rides are monitored through GPS and suppliers are contacted if inactivity or potential obstacles are detected and if needed, provide alternative arrangements.

Now is the time for disruptive products to enter the market

If there ever was a time for disruptive technology, it is now. An unpredicted outcome of the crisis is that it has motivated organizations to accelerate plans for technology development, and governments to waive regulatory requirements, ushering in a new era of post-pandemic product innovation.

In fact, the downtime experienced by the aviation industry led to a surge in digital solutions being developed, designed to support airlines as they prepare for a resurgence in travel.

At Get-e, we created our disruption management platform, giving airlines a ready-to-go transportation and hotel and accommodation (HOTAC) partner to support passengers affected by flight diversions at the touch of a button. 

For airlines, passenger satisfaction is paramount. If an aircraft must divert to a different airport for whatever reason, getting those passengers to their planned destination quickly and efficiently is important, chiefly for reputational management, but there are regulation and cost implications too. Before now, airlines have not had access to a single, intelligent system that manages the process of finding alternative transport, accommodation and catering when needed, and disruption management has therefore been a headache for airlines’ customer service and operations teams to manage.

Our platform easily integrates with airlines’ systems, enabling them to have full visibility over where their passengers and crew are at all times, and can quickly resolve unexpected issues. The technology can also be used to provide travellers with push notifications through an airline’s app, keeping them updated about the details of their onward journey. Not only does this save airlines money in terms of administration time and possible compensation, but also ensures passengers leave with a positive view of the airline, even if there is disruption. Communication is a key component for reputation building – keeping passengers updated when airline disruption occurs is crucial and going digital is an easy way of getting information to those affected quickly.

We believe this new product will completely revolutionize airline disruption management, and alongside many other developments expected in the market, work together to create a smoother overall experience for passengers.

What’s more, we have built the technology to be easily tailored for airlines’ different business goals, and we can work together with carrier partners to develop a product and service suite that will best meet their needs. Our model can work with any size of airline as customers are billed for the mileage completed by the transfer of aircrew or passenger, as opposed to the number of transfer requests made. Therefore, smaller airlines would not experience disproportionate costs for the Get-e service.

Customer confidence and reputation will be vital as the travel industry gears up again, and having a digital approach to processes such as disruption management will set airlines one step apart from their competitors.