It is nothing new but we know that the year 2020 has brought challenges to all the industries. But few have been massively hit by this Covid pandemic, and one such is Air travel. All across the world, flights have been grounded as the international airports are closed and there are travel bans being introduced worldwide. This unfortunate situation, brought challenges for the Airlines and it did not stop there. Airline economics suggests that planes must be used as much as possible and for the larger planes this means, to keep them in the air as close to 24/7. But for this reason the availability of enough storage facilities is low. At Frankfurt Airport for example, the tarmac on the 4th runway is now the home of many of the airport’s planes. It can also frequently take, as long as 30 days, to return a commercial jet to circulation after it has been postponed. This being the reason, many planes that are still circulation have been transferred to the Indian sub-continent where the air travel has not been this badly disrupted. As a result, it might take the flights to come home some time, to their previous routes that is if the flight paths opens up. In the year 2021, the Aviation sector will also have the need to adapt and re-asses its fleet size and their operational strategy in order to re construct their business amidst this global crisis.
Pilots weigh for a key proportion of the overhead costs and airlines will be constantly thinking about pilot strategy. This is likely to include the need to outsource and de centralize to their maximum efficiency. The trained pilots will need further training upgrades and renewals to their licenses even when the flights are grounded. Flight simulators have therefore anticipated a crucial role in 2020.
Usually established to keep skilled crews sharp by creating stimulating scenarios in safe environment for them to overcome, they have now become imperative across the industry for several motives. Flying, like any other skill, requires continuous practice to uphold the highest level of competency. That’s why airlines have regency rules that want the pilots to perform a quantified number of take-offs, landings and attitudes within a certain period of time. Progressions in simulator technology continue to connect the gap between theory and reality. At Alpha Aviation, they recently invested in the new Alsim-AL172 flight simulator that structures a Cessna 172 cockpit, with two seats and a flight deck. As pilots still need to clock up over 1,500 flying hours to obtain their ATP certificate, advanced simulators like these will also be in effect while providing pilot training without the functioning costs of a real flight. This year also emphasized the need for regulators to make changes to the training procedures. For example, there will be a need to be more dependence on e-learning in the early cadet training and the recognition of integrated expertise in simulator training will also be significant. Additional adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) can also offer a dynamic competitive advantage.
AI technologies have now been widely accepted across the aviation industry. From facial recognition at airport passport security to baggage check-in and far-flung aircraft one-to-one care. For years these revolutions have been streamlining the procedures, both for operators and customers. Nevertheless, AI has a much greater potential beyond these applied solicitations. Among these benefits, AI and machine learning algorithms top at recognizing the patterns and are extremely efficient at collecting the data from the process of training cadets. Flight simulators are already equipped with the sensor that is set to generate a considerable amount of data. This information can now be used to assess the pilot competency from the commencement of training.
As they remain motivated to work directly with controllers and the airlines to further increase the use of technology and AI in the industry, their ability to endure to adapt and modernize in this crisis will positively mean clearer skies ahead, believes Captain Nadhem is the General Manager of Alpha Aviation UAE.