Written by Debora Cazzani, Marketing and Export Manager, MC Solutions
Some decades ago, I was sitting in a university lecture hall and one of the lessons that I won’t ever forget was about market reaction in moment of crisis: a company must invest and institutions must incentivize research and development.
It is quite clear that this theory is a basic one. At first sight, it might be considered an anomalous reaction, but it is indeed a natural human reaction to try to adapt and survive against adverse forces.
It is true that COVID-19 has resulted in a crisis with consequences for which we were not prepared, but the industry has faced crises before. The difference is that while aviation has been hugely impacted, the crisis has been a global one, impacting every facet of life.
In coming up with solutions to underpin a recovery for the industry, we must be conscious that we are citizens of the world. Despite our nationalities, we need to take a common approach for a common recovery, as scientific journalist of emerging diseases Debora Mackenzie said when interviewed at the ACI Europe annual congress in 2020.
It is time to react, time to be proactive, time to design for a better sustainable future.
Many initiatives to combat climate changes and protect our environment have been taken in response to public opinion.
This pandemic, however, has brought an even deeper awareness in people for environmental issues, affecting everyday life. The issue has prompted us to change the food we chose, the clothes we wear, the way in which we manage our waste.
That is, in almost every facet of the way we behave as consumers.
The introduction of smarter working in response to the constraints of the pandemic has given us more time to research, to look for more information on environmentally friendly decisions, and to reflect on how we will decide to travel in the future.
I strongly believe people want to fly and travel again and more, to feel the freedom to visit a foreign country or simply a friend, to be a citizen of the world. But what will be the future determinants in passenger’s choice for a flight?
I believe the environmental credential of airports will play a big part in their decisions – is this airport green, are there connections to the city center with efficient, convenient and sustainable means of transport, or does the airport offer an experience above and beyond what we might expect?
Airports are already offering diverse and interesting experiences – such as exploring the cultural heritage of a country as offered by Oman or providing a botanic garden in which to take a rest before reaching the gate at Changi Airport in Singapore.
In the future, we can expect more innovations such as Vertical Take Off and Landing air taxis, drone delivery services, and hydrogen aircraft to become commonplace. These developments are no longer the realm of science fiction and airports need to be prepared to facilitate them.
As well as the experience for passengers, airports need to look to improvements that can be made to the airfield and operations.
No matter how small, any single action taken for a sustainable airport will matter.
Positive changes are already being made on airfields around the world such as incandescent lights being replaced by LED lights – like at London Gatwick Airport – but there is much more than can be done.
The system that controls and monitors the airfield ground, lights and allows the automatic surface guidance are in function with the same logic since the 90s using powerline to transmit data and microwaves to detect aircrafts on ground: these technologies require higher energy consumption. Just think that when these systems have been first installed, smartphones didn’t even existing!
So, we have engineered all our products with a low consumption philosophy and the innovation itself of using optical fiber to communicate data which allowed us, beside granting safety and efficiency, to dramatically reduce power consumption.
To ensure a sustainable future we should start from where the industrial revolution left off: innovation and transport, but with environmental consciousness.
This awareness and the fact that from north to south of the planet we are all facing the same economic and environmental issues in varying degrees. The restart and recovery of aviation will be dependent on many factors, one that cannot be missed is sustainability for a greener future.
Debora Cazzani has a degree in Public Relations from IULM University in Milan. Her career path has developed through technical B2B and B2C branches in sales and communication departments With 19 years experience she is honored to join MC SOLUTIONS as Marketing & Export manager to contribute to its debut on the international market.