Aviation Enters Changed Reality in 2021

As we begin 2021, after one highly unpredictable and turbulent 2020, authorities, NGOs and businesses around the world have been preparing and speculating for the year ahead in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the so-called “new normal”. Few have been more profoundly impacted than the aviation industry as regulations and restrictions have continued to change worldwide along with passenger needs and expectations. A recent 9,500 respondent passenger confidence survey conducted across 12 countries by Inmarsat, revealed 83 percent of passengers do not expect to return to their previous travel routines once the pandemic is behind us. However, a majority of passengers surveyed (60 percent) were satisfied with the aviation industry’s response to the pandemic. Passengers reported being more fearful of catching the virus abroad than during flights. There is at the same time, a clear desire for consistent measures to make trips safer, such as mandatory face covering and pre-travel testing. Whilst aviation has a long way to go before it can return to “normal”, there are opportunities for airlines to get passengers back in the air. Airline reputation is one factor which is becoming more significant than it was pre-pandemic. It is more imperative than ever for operators to differentiate themselves over competitors. Improving the inflight experience is one way to achieve this. From extra legroom to free baggage, value added services are becoming increasingly important to passengers. Digital solutions such as onboard Wi-Fi also hold potential for improving the inflight experience. Additionally, destination status alerts, real time luggage tracking and immigration pre-clearances onboard are among the top new aspects of travel which passengers want to keep post-pandemic. Being an international aviation services provider for commercial, business and governmental aviation for 40 years, HADID recognises the accelerated importance of digitisation and cognizance towards health and safety across the industry. HADID’s in-house systems and client portals have been increasingly relied upon, enabling the successful support of hundreds of flights worldwide throughout the pandemic. HADID flight operations experts also continue to assist operators, crews and passengers with the very latest updates and information pertaining to worldwide travel restrictions and requirements in what has become a highly complex global travel environment.

With passenger numbers having fallen drastically through 2020, recent reports from industry bodies suggest that the revenue pool for airlines globally in 2021 will remain at about half of 2019 levels. Many airline executives are anticipating the “U-Shaped” recovery scenario, whereby international demand recovers to 80 percent of its pre-crisis levels up until 2024. However, current IATA reports also show the second half of 2021 is expected to see improvements. Increasing travel demands during 2021, due to the re-opening of borders, testing and the availability of vaccines, may combine with continued cost-cutting to see the industry turn cash-positive by the fourth quarter of 2021.

Meanwhile, many airports and operators have adapted, implementing preventive measures and adjusting their business models. Digitisation and the deployment of emerging technology has been a key feature of this. Tech disruption in the aviation industry was already underway pre-crisis. However, the demands of the pandemic to improve passenger safety appears to have hastened the race. Both on-ground and in the air, robot cleaners, advanced screening, UV cleaning, biometrics and new PPE uniforms for flight crews could become standard for future air travel. HADID is working closely with authorities, experts, health professionals and airlines to safely and efficiently handle all flight types and categories. This includes private chartered flights to and from HADID managed executive aviation terminals, also known as FBOs, where teams have implemented a number of measures to manage touchpoints, disinfect surfaces, screen passengers and implement social distancing. From a psychological perspective alone, it is important for such health measures to be seen by passengers and by crews operating aircraft.

Airlines and commercial aircraft manufacturers have been quick to develop measures and systems to make flying as safe as possible, with health becoming a major part of the safety and security paradigm on-ground and in the air. One of the most important considerations onboard is air circulation and quality. Fortunately, the current generation of air filtration systems on aircraft are already quite advanced. Most commercial aircraft are equipped with HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters and operators have been quick to promote this to would-be travellers.

Another notable trend has been that of airlines and leasing firms rushing to repurpose passenger aircraft for air cargo freighting, also known as Passenger to Freighter (P2F) conversions, as e-commerce booms and the value of used planes has fallen amid the pandemic. Air freight demand has remained strong in-part because shoppers have increasingly turned to e-commerce. According to the World Economic Forum, it is expected that the number of P2F conversions globally will rise by 36 percent in 2021. At HADID, aviation support services for cargo flights have remained a priority as we continue to work closely with operators to ensure global supply chains are maintained. The transport of foodstuffs, humanitarian aid and medical cargo, including vaccines and PPE, is dependent on optimised flight planning, swift flight permit acquisitions as well as professional ground handling and aircraft fuel arrangements. HADID makes this possible through its 24/7 Operations Control Centres (OCC) and experienced staff on-ground at airports worldwide.

Many hopes are pinned on the effectiveness and distribution of new vaccinations which have been advanced at unprecedented speed. As SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus vaccinations are rolled out more widely and to a growing number of countries and locations, HADID is working closely with operators and international airlines flying medical cargo routes to transport the vaccines swiftly to where they are needed. HADID is committed to ensuring trusted and reliable aviation support in the global fight against COVID-19.


Established in 1981, Hadid International Services (HADID) is celebrating 40 years in the provision of aviation services. Evolving from a regional flight support company HADID is now a preferred provider worldwide for a comprehensive range of aviation services as well as FBO and Executive Lounge facilities. Included amongst our diverse clientele are commercial airlines, private operators, business leaders, heads of state, government agencies and non-governmental organisations. The HADID service range includes Flights Permits, Flight Planning, Ground Handling, Aviation Fuelling and Concierge, Navigation Support Governmental Flight Support and Air Charter services.

Headquartered in Dubai, a major aviation hub, with a strong global network and local experts on ground at airports around the world, HADID is well positioned to provide reliable and updated information upon request. Our knowledge of international regulations and operational procedures allows us to coordinate flights of all types and categories worldwide.

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