Issue No. 813
American Tech Ops' Post-Pandemic Future
The MRO Switches From Storing Jets to Getting Them Ready for Flight
Pushing Back: Inside the Issue
Early in the pandemic, American's Tulsa, Okla., maintenance base spent a lot of its time readying aircraft for long-term storage. Now, it's doing precisely the opposite as the world's largest carrier starts to pull its aircraft out of mothballs. We take a look at that pivot in this week's Feature Story.
Since the pandemic began, more than 1,500 aircraft have been pulled out of service, with many of those permanently retired, Boeing's CEO David Calhoun said. This could be a golden opportunity for the airframers when airline industry growth resumes, as airlines seek to replace that lost lift with new jets. But the heads of both Boeing and Airbus think this could be years off. That's in stark contrast to U.S. airline CEOs, who think the summer will be busy as vacationers take long-delayed holidays (although business and international travel remain in the doldrums).
Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury thinks the recovery will not be "linear," to use his word. While the U.S. and domestic China get ready for a busy summer, Brazil is just starting to emerge from a devastating wave of the disease, and India has descended into a public-health catastrophe. The Australia-New Zealand travel bubble showed signs of strain when a few passengers inadvertently breached the sanitary cordon (but the bubble so far still remains intact), and some have begun to whisper that the Tokyo Olympics may not occur as Japan grapples with a slow vaccine roll out. Meanwhile, airlines and governments can't agree on a single standard for vaccine documentation. Faury's right. There's a long and twisting recovery ahead of us yet before those "green shoots" start to grow.
"Based on the experience of airlines in the United States and the United Kingdom, countries that are more advanced than Brazil in the rollout of vaccines, we expect the national program for immunization to positively impact the normalization of demand for air travel in Brazil."Gol CEO Paulo Kakinoff