Boeing is working on an initiative aimed to re-convince the travelling public that flying is safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Boeing’s Confident Travel Initiative encompasses two-fold work. One the one hand, it is aimed to find new ways how air travel health risks could be minimized. On another hand, advertising ‒ or driving awareness to ‒ pre-existing health safeguards is also on the agenda.
“The Confident Travel Initiative team will work with airlines, global regulators, industry stakeholders, flying passengers, infectious disease experts and behavioral specialists to establish industry-recognized safety recommendations,” as outlined in the company’s statement. “The team is also advising operators on existing, approved disinfectants that are compatible with the airplane flight decks and cabins and testing other sanitizers.”
On May 14, 2020, the U.S. manufacturer named Mike Delaney, digital transformation vice president from its commercial aircraft division, as the head of the initiative. “Air travel is coming back,” said Delaney. “As that happens, we want passengers and crews to board Boeing airplanes without hesitation.”
The initiative has already received criticism. “Boeing’s approach so far has been to privilege individual initiative over state financial help,” Nicolas Jouan, Aerospace and Defense Analyst at GlobalData, said in a written comment to AeroTime News. “The company did not tap in the CARES Act US$17bn package intended to support “businesses critical to maintaining national security” and widely interpreted as tailor-made for Boeing at the time. Instead, the plane maker decided to suspend dividend, cut workforce by 10%, slash production of its main commercial platforms (B737 MAX halted, B787 halved), and raise US$25bn in bonds. CEO Dave Calhoun explained a few days before the CARES Act that Boeing will always refuse governmental help if it opens the door to federal involvement in the company’s strategy. The Confident Travel Initiative is therefore merely another step towards a changed air travel industry.”