Welcome to Aireon’s blog series, “The Weekly Five” in which we will ask five quick questions to our team members to educate and share how Aireon has been continuing 24/7 operations during the pandemic and what we’re learning along the way. For this post, we’ve sat down with Aireon’s Vice President of Customer Affairs, Peter Cabooter.
- As such a widely global company, how has Aireon been keeping communications with its international partners and customers throughout the pandemic?
There is luckily a large number of tools for virtual meetings that the sales team can use to have customer meetings. As always, Aireon is staying close to our customers via WhatsApp, phone, text messages etc. Obviously, we cannot have in-person meetings so these are all surrogates, but they are helping us to keep engaging and communicating with customers.
- What have been the biggest challenges for your role at Aireon during the COVID-19 pandemic? Has anything changed?
The change could not have been bigger! From my normal routine of being on a different continent every week, to working months from home. We also now need to take a different approach and help our customers where it’s possible and underline the fact that we are always looking for long-term partnerships, not short term sales.
- What do you think the pandemic means for the future of air travel and the aviation industry?
The current travel restrictions will be lifted in a phased approach and might partially come back when a specific country has a peak in new COVID-19 cases. I do think we will not be seeing anymore A380s in the sky; the airlines will select smaller (still twin aisle) aircraft to ensure they are flying with sufficient passengers to have profitable flights. I do strongly believe that everyone will regain trust in flying (the air in an aircraft is very safe and filtered) as soon as restrictions will be lifted. After all, many of us like to see the world!
- How is Aireon’s data helping improve aviation through unpredictable global events?
On a weekly basis, we are sending out data to our customers to support their decisions with regards to the traffic recovery. Aireon is the only company in the world that has a complete data set of real-time, global aircraft movements, so we have the ability to send them traffic information/trends from their country, region, the world, etc. We are also actively engaged with our joint initiative with CANSO where we are providing traffic data for them to share with their Members.
It is also important to add that Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) can use our data and pay for that data based on the actual flight hours into their airspace. This will help them avoid large investments whilst their own revenues are being impacted by the pandemic. No need to buy expensive equipment that costs the same for surveillance of 1 or for 100 aircraft, when you can buy our data and only pay for what is being flown.
- Anything else you’d like to add?
I am really proud of our people at Aireon for reacting so positively to these special circumstances. It shows we are a resilient and creative team.