A Pennant Perspective – The Impact of Covid-19

We are kickstarting our ‘A Pennant Perspective’ series with our findings on the COVID-19 impact.

The emergence of COVID-19 has had a disastrous impact on the aviation industry on a global scale, with some regions of the world affected more than others. The period of prosperity came to an end in 2020 as a result of the pandemic, plunging the industry in to an extended period of uncertainty and at least two or three years of financial pressure. According to the International Air Transport Association, the aviation industry worldwide lost over $118 billion in 2020 as a result of COVID-19.

In 2020, COVID-related pressure on airline cash flow led global carriers to put thousands of aircraft into storage, retire twice as many as normal, convert some for carrying cargo, and cancel or defer some deliveries of new aircraft. The significant fall in financial performance in 2021 was largely caused by the decline of air travel demand, particularly in the international market, brought about by concerns of travel restrictions imposed by various governments to contain COVID-19.

Pete Foreman, Head of Training Delivery said “It was expected that many aircraft maintenance engineers would be let go in response to the fall in flight volumes. However, the number of UK based employed persons in “Aircraft Maintenance and related trades” actually remained around the same at 26,900 in the survey period October 2019 to September 2020. It is likely that many AMEs were either furloughed or were working on grounded aircraft, therefore remaining employed.

Despite the historic fall in the number of commercial flights, the MRO sector seems in fact to have remained quite resilient. However, the prospects for the industry are unknown and possibly unstable, as the aviation sector has a range of options (expansion to contraction) for future business, largely dependent on differing Covid-19 recovery scenarios.”

Next week, we will be publishing our findings on the impact of Brexit (part of the ‘A Pennant Perspective’).