Aviation industry might be on a global lockdown, but aviation professionals are fighting for its survival by keeping a finger on the pulse. Without forgetting to duly follow the recommendation to stay home. 

The coronavirus fear, coupled with countries’ measures to contain the pandemics, such as lockdowns and border closures, have drastically axed passenger numbers. The outcome of COVID-19 saw airlines cutting flight numbers and grounding their entire fleets, leaving just a small portion of essential domestic and cargo flights in the air. 

For instance, if at the beginning of March 2020, flight tracking website flightradar24.com tracked an average of 175,520 flights per day, then by the end of the month the number dropped to just over 80 thousand. Keeping in mind how many people, both on the ground and in the sky, work to facilitate every single flight, the disappeared 100K flights per day give a faint indication on just how many aviation professionals were “grounded” alongside, transferring their work and attention from the real world to the digital one. 

But while the world is getting less connected in a physical sense, people are coming together via digital solutions. The trends are especially visible in the media landscape, as news portals are counting rising audience numbers. For instance, aviation news portal aerotime.aero saw its audience engagement grow to unprecedented numbers, surpassing the threshold of 1 million page views per month in March 2020. 

The aviation news portal saw its audience reach 650.000 unique users per month. In Asia, the audience grew by 15%, in the United States it rose by 33%, while the interest from the United Kingdom-based aviators soared the most, by 52% in comparison with the previous month.
 
The rising need to monitor the industry’s (slowing) pulse reflects the reality of ongoing processes. “During the first half of March, the aviation industry was still coming to terms with the new situation, trying to sustain normal operations as much as possible. When more aviation professionals entered their leaves and stayed at home, the interest in aviation news via the news portal surged,” says AeroTime Hub CEO Mindaugas Gumauskas. 

“What it tells us is that aviation professionals are not choosing to distance themselves from the industry, rather refocusing and connecting through other means,” Mr. Gumauskas adds. “In this landscape, the importance of credible, trustworthy information becomes particularly important.”

Another take-away from the currently grim situation in aviation is a rather unexpected one. While aviation is a business of freedom and connecting people through overcoming distance is at the heart of it, in the light of the pandemics aviators stay at home.