I am supposed to be in Europe this week to speak at a seminar and attend a different one, but I chose to stay home, to be safe. It is estimated the airline industry’s 2020 earnings could decrease by 40%, or more than half a trillion dollars.
People are changing their behaviour.
It’s hard to get people to change behaviour. Typically it only occurs when there is something quite amazing or really horrible stimulating it.
In cases like this, take the climate crisis. Certainly, transportation, including aviation, is a massive contributor to greenhouse gases. And while there’s tangible progress especially around EVs, there hasn’t been large scale behaviour change in regards to transportation patterns, until today.
Needless to say, this might not last. Hopefully COVID-19 moves with time like SARS and MERS and the Swine Flu failed. And it’s very likely that, by and large, we return to our previous routines.
However, it’s also possible that this incident causes some lasting change. To begin with, online/video meetings are a lot more accessible, which means that you can normally get a more interesting and diverse group of attendees than you can for IRL events. And, for less than the expense of one plane ticket, you can outfit your desk with large huge monitors and a fantastic camera (I just did this recently).
Therefore, it seems like one output of the situation is going to be a wider comfort with videoconferencing, and I believe that’s a fantastic thing.
But thinking more widely, it only goes to prove that change doesn’t come cheap. And it often only comes from the power of something really strong, either negative or positive.