Flying post COVID-19
8/18/2020 9:13:27 AM
Janes_mainMount Allison aviation, commerce student examines customer perceptions around airlines and the COVID-19 pandemic

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit globally in the spring, the airline industry was one that was deeply affected with flights being grounded at unprecedented rates. But how will the industry adapt and what does flying look like post-pandemic? Andrew Janes, an aviation and commerce student at Mount Allison University, is working to learn more about these questions and people’s perceptions around flying safely.

Janes’ project, Customer Service in Network Legacy Airlines post COVID-19, is supported by the University’s Independent Student Summer Research Grant program. He is working with Commerce professor Dr. Rosemary Polegato.

“For my research, I am focusing on legacy airlines in the United States — American Airlines, Delta, and United — as well as some major airlines in Asia,” says Janes. “Through a review of the literature and analysis of current airline policies and procedures, I’m hoping to gain insight on how customers’ beliefs or perceptions around airlines have changed with the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as measures the airlines have taken to respond to these challenges.”

Polegato says this CAE-sponsored research grant is a perfect fit for Janes.

“Andrew is applying research skills across disciplines within the context of flight and ground school training. He’s embraced the opportunity to study a timely topic and will present the findings to CAE while the airline industry is working through the process of reopening amidst the pandemic.”  

Along with studying customers’ perceptions and airlines’ responses, Janes has also been looking at potential changes and adaptations for the travelling industry in response to COVID-19.

“You are seeing additional sanitation measures on board aircrafts, as well as ideas for travel bubbles between countries who seem to be managing their COVID-19 cases,” says Janes. “It’s an interesting field but challenging to keep up with as measures change daily, sometimes even more frequently, depending on health and safety requirements.”

Janes says linking his aviation studies with commerce has been a bonus at Mount Allison. From St. John’s NL, he is coming back to New Brunswick in August to begin his flight training and classes for his final year.

While not originally planning to pursue research in this area, the pandemic opened a door for Janes. He plans to write a paper summarizing his research and pursue further studies as well as a career in aviation following Mount Allison.

“The aviation program is very busy between studies and flight training, but I also really enjoy my commerce studies,” he says. “I’m hoping this research can serve as a bit of a framework to build off for future studies, looking how consumer attitudes will be affected. I am planning to work in the airline industry and would like to pursue an MBA in aviation management.”