Jesús Alonso, Director of Business Development at Isdefe, and José Manuel Hesse, Director of Operations at Isdefe and member of COIAE, took part in this first virtual workshop held on 6 May by the Official Association of Aeronautical Engineers of Spain (COIAE).
Titled “The Future of the Aeronautical Sector in the Post COVID-19 Era”, it analysed the various measures that should be taken to ensure all the agents involved can overcome the crisis in the sector, as well as the recovery outlook and the future role of industry in air transport.
Jesús Alonso focused on three measures to combat this crisis: in the short term, an injection of liquidity; once the system is back on its feet, technology to keep making air transport sustainable and environmentally friendly; and advancing in decarbonisation and education so the public can fly again without fear”.
He noted that “we are faced with a systemic crisis and the economy has to be reopened in the very short term to keep the liquidity crisis from turning into a depression. This can only be resolved by injecting money into the system”.
Jesús Alonso anticipated the grants to companies that the EU’s Commissioner for Competition just published, noting “the need to be vigilant for injections of capital, which represent a de facto nationalisation and can alter the ownership structure of companies and result in corporate takeovers of vulnerable companies with public money, which would alter the rules of competition”.
José Manuel Hesse focused his short-term measures on:
“the air transport industry has to be able to convey to society how the coordinated and universal measures implemented create a safe environment that allow for restored trust in health safety”.
“Halting solutions that are applied in response to individual, uncoordinated approaches by airlines or airport managers”. Any actions taken must be coordinated amongst all the actors in the air transport industry, since the only valid solution will be one that is validated by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and that applies to all its elements uniformly.
And “it’s important not to be blinded by the pandemic and forget other initiatives that were underway to address problems that are still there, like the SES and SESAR programmes, the environmental sustainability of aviation”.
José Manuel Hesse stated his conviction that the lessons learned from combatting the pandemic will give rise to changes in airport designs, as well as to the designs of airport processes and air navigation services.
He also noted that the sector’s recovery will be highly dependent on the existence of a vaccine and improved tests, on the air transport industry’s ability to create a safe environment that gains the trust of passengers, and on the ability to reactivate the economy, and the tourism industry in particular.
Finally, he concluded by saying that “Now is the time to innovate and imagine, not to be paralysed by unfounded fears”.
Both Isdefe executives agreed that this crisis will not result in increased investment in defence and security, despite the important role that the armed forces and law enforcement agencies are playing. Because it is a health crisis, José Manuel Hesse stated that “only the budgets in areas like healthcare and digitisation will be increased”. Jesús Alonso said that “it will have repercussions on investment in information and communications technology, in the areas of monitoring and controlling movements, travel, identification, etc., with the ensuing safety vs. privacy concerns”.
The round table was moderated by Estefanía Matesanz, the chairwoman of COIAE, and in addition to the two Isdefe executives, featured Ángel Luis Arias, Managing Director of ENAIRE, and Cristina de Bustos, Managing Director of CDTI and treasurer of COIAE.