As fewer commercial planes will ply in the near future, the demand for chartered planes may soar, post the lockdown. Kanika Tekriwal, CEO & Founder, JetSetGo Aviation tells us what the future of air travel looks like.
When do you think the ban on air travel in India will be lifted?
Given the situation, it is not correct to predict how long it will take to lift the ban on air travel in India. We, as a nation, are witnessing such a difficult time for the first time and we are all in it together. Corno virus cases in India are rising and the government is taking decisions accordingly, to ensure safety. I am sure we will fly once the time is right.
Do you think that domestic travel channels will open up first?
If we look at the trends in Europe as well as the States (USA), most nations seem to be easing domestic flying restrictions first. This makes sense, as we have to ensure that we do not consistently import and export the virus.
What is JetSetGo up to right now?
We, at JetSetGo, follow a SMART management programme, focussing on agile, flexible operations, allowing us to adapt and change with circumstances very quickly and swiftly. Every detail has been mapped across the delivery process. Various mock drills have been conducted to study the effectiveness of different Safety Operating Procedures (SOP), and corrections are made accordingly. We have prepared ourselves to facilitate guests and thought of the best ways to handle their baggage, food and aircraft interior. Our teams have gone through internal training in sanitizing aircraft before and after every flight.
Instead of consistently dictating the way we operate, we are working with our guests to understand how they would want to travel with us, what are their expectations as well as what makes them feel the safest. Our SOP revolves around inputs from our guests as well as some of the country’s best medical practitioners. Moreover, we are also working with airports to adopt and implement the recommended safety procedures.
Post the lockdown, will the demand for private jets increase?
Whether it’s health risk concerns or just getting where you need to be, people and companies that have the means to fly privately, but had previously eschewed it, will now be looking at the options for its enhanced safety, hygiene and convenience factors. Further whilst flying private, the touchpoints throughout the journey also decrease, making private flying favourable.
Read: The new guidelines for air travel are here
How are private jet operators preparing for the day when air travel restrictions are lifted?
We at JetSetGo are setting up a stringent SOP for all aircraft operations. Our first priority is to ensure the safety of our guests and team members. The focus has moved from luxury to safety and all procedures are being modified.
We are regularly sanitising and disinfecting our aircrafts and have waived off all cancellation charges. All guests will be screened before boarding the aircraft. The crew and ground staff are trained to handle any emergencies and are equipped with the right gear.
All aircraft crockery is being washed in professional dishwashers with QUAT-based dishwashing solution and being sterilized through steam above 83-degree celsius.
I don’t think one can escape using PPEs or masks or sanitisers anytime in the near future. We are working on setting up procedures, wherein, both, crew and guests are adequately protected and comfortable.
We are also reducing the number of seats that can be occupied on an aircraft, reducing passenger touchpoints as well as changing F&B norms.
What kind of challenges do you foresee?
I have always believed that every adversity leads to an opportunity and I am confident that the new normal will be safer, stronger and smarter. The only challenge I foresee is how quickly will we able to adapt to the changes and incorporate them into our lives. It is going to be a brand-new world and we may need to forget everything we have learned and implemented so far, and change the way we fly and operate completely.
What is the future of luxury consumption in India and the world, post COVID-19?
According to the recent report by Bain & Company, global luxury sales could drop 35 per cent by the end of 2020, and India is no exception to it. COVID-19 has impacted the way consumers make their luxury purchase decisions. However, if we look at the luxury travel space, I personally believe that consumers may opt for one trip against three but prioritise privacy. The expenditure of that one trip may be equivalent to that of three. We will see a greater demand for personalisation, safety as well as security. Maybe one private jet trip instead of three first-class trips or one luxurious villa instead of three penthouse suites holidays. Safety, safety, safety – that is the way forward for the luxury travel space.