Pure Skies was developed in response to the global pandemic and proposes a raft of design ideas offering a road map towards future growth and passenger satisfaction in the aviation industry. The concept addresses consumer, business and environmental concerns with designs based on improving personal space, hygiene and safety.
Every country and industry has been affected by Covid-19. With thousands of planes grounded and some airlines operating only about 10% of their fleet, the aviation sector has had to face its most difficult crisis. While airlines have immediate challenges to tackle in the short run, we also foresee that some of the impacts of the pandemic will live beyond in the ‘new normal’. Specifically, consumer concerns around hygiene, safety and personal space will continue to be a key factor when passengers return to the skies. It’s within this context that we developed our Pure Skies concept. While the focus has been on the onboard experience, we have also explored how these ideas would translate to other elements of the passenger journey, including improving the airport experience.
Pure Skies is rooted in over two decades of working at the heart of the aviation industry, and is an example of what we call pragmatic innovation: innovation rooted in the realities, both physical and economic, that airline businesses operate in. The project began with a complete survey of the passenger journey, from the point of ticket booking all the way to arriving at the destination. Our team mapped out every touchpoint, every brand interaction whether with physical or digital products or services, and used this as the basis for a review of travel in a post-pandemic world.
An enhanced sense of personal space
We explored how we could increase a sense of personal space for passengers both onboard the aircraft, as well as in queues and crowds throughout the travel journey. We developed solutions both for Business Class ‘Rooms’, where suites are fully enclosed with a privacy curtain, and each passenger has his/her own personal overhead luggage bin, as well as personal wardrobe. Meanwhile in our Economy ‘Zones’, we have designed a staggered seat approach that would allow passengers to choose whether they want an increased sense of space, as well as allow those travelling together to sit together.
Harnessing new technologies for greater hygiene
New developments in material properties and cleaning technologies have the potential to transform the onboard environment with new lines of defence for sanitation. Pure Skies looks at including UVC cleaning and fogging, in addition to manual processes, in combination with antimicrobial finishes embedded within fabrics and surfaces to enhance the efficacy of cleaning. We’ve also integrated the use of thermochromic and photochromic inks that, in combination with heat cleaning, can display a message of reassurance on the surfaces themselves. We’ve also used design elements in the seat construction to minimise dirt traps, for example through the use of seam tapes and seat shells.
Improving the digital journey
Greater use of digital technologies is a crucial tool to enhance customer experience, but it also serves a greater purpose in the post-Covid climate of minimising the number of touch points that passengers have to interact with throughout their journey. Pure Skies is very much about rethinking the interactions required throughout the journey and minimising or removing them, as well making it easier for passengers to customise their journey through their own device. This has been a growing trend in other industries, and will be crucial to the success of aviation going forward.