Barry Flynn, Inflight Dublin, working from his study.

What We’re Made Of is a Q&A series that looks at how companies in the aviation industry are tackling challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve had to adapt to changes in where, when and how we work, but we are resilient. If you would like to share your experience, e-mail editor@apex.aero.

Barry Flynn
CCO, Inflight Dublin
Location: Dublin
Day 11 of working from home
Date of writing: April 2

Are you in lockdown right now?
Ireland has been on a two-week lockdown as of March 28, but the majority of our staff have been working from home for the past two weeks.

Where are you writing from?
My study at home. I have a setup that mirrors the one in my office, which has really helped with the transition.

How are you trying to maintain “business as usual” or communicating with your team?
For many years, we’ve utilized Slack for internal communications. We recently moved to Zoom for conference calling, and MS Teams is another tool popular with clients.

What’s your new office attire or go-to comforts at home during this time?
My comfortable Liverpool FC hoody.

How are you passing time?
We are supporting clients with questions relating to current and future content as well as Everhub cycles and updates. In my spare time, I catch up on my favorite TV boxsets – I just finished re-watching Band of Brothers and am about to start Tiger King on Netflix.

“We are providing carefully thought out strategies for each client, ensuring that they are not overly exposed financially but that they have access to some form of content if and when required.”

Describe where your business was at the end of 2019. What were your goals/projections for 2020? 
We have been growing consistently over the past few years and 2019 was no different – we brought on new CSP and wireless Everhub clients and retained many clients. Our goals for 2020 were to continue growing and support our clients with new initiatives to suit the needs of their passengers.

Can you share any stories about how you’ve overcome one of these challenges that others in the industry could learn from?
We plan to use any spare time to develop new client-focused initiatives that can be introduced post COVID-19. One initiative that we fast-tracked is our EASE: Wellness Breathing Exercise. It’s an airline branded exercise to help ‘ease’ anxiety for nervous fliers, but we decided to ramp up development of the product so that clients can issue it to their staff at home.

How can airlines and their suppliers approach the situation to mitigate adverse effects?
A prudent approach is required. We are providing carefully thought out strategies for each client, ensuring that they are not overly exposed financially but that they have access to some form of content if and when required. Our portable Everhub wireless IFE solution will be made available to clients who need a low-cost IFE system while they ramp flight operations back up.

What has your company done to join the efforts to combat the spread of coronavirus?
Fortunately, our facilities manager is very organized, and he had enough hand sanitizer in stock to support the office during the initial weeks of the outbreak. Internal communications and signage also helped to educate and inform staff. We hope that the small but consistent internal initiatives we implemented have helped keep our staff safe.

Where do you see your company or the industry in six months, one year from now?
In six months I believe many of the strategies we are currently developing and agreeing with clients will be implemented. It’s wishful thinking to believe everything will be back to normal 12 months from now, but we will do everything in our power to help our clients get back on their feet during this period.

What’s one thing that will never be the same again for commercial aviation?
I am sure there will be changes to policies across the airline industry regarding crisis management for any future airborne diseases like COVID-19, which could result in more frequent mass groundings of flights. If this does happen, updates to a range of systems and procedures will be required for all stakeholders to enable the quick reduction and re-introduction of flights.

Read more about the coronavirus impact on the air travel industry, including APEX’s position on the matter, and subscribe to the APEX Daily Experience newsletter to stay up to date.