Laurent Safar, Adaptive Channel, working from his summer home.

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.

Laurent Safar
CEO, Adaptive Channel
Location: Marseille, France
Date of writing: March 31

Are you in lockdown right now?
Yes. France is in full lockdown and, surprisingly, French people are complying with all the new rules ;).

Where are you writing from?
I am fortunate to be in the south of France, near Marseille, in a summer home overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

How are you trying to maintain “business as usual” or communicating with your team?
Adaptive has been able to reorganize quite swiftly because our system is built with full remote access and also because we have always used collaborative tools such as Slack, Skype and Google Meet.

Have you or anyone you know been directly affected by COVID-19? Unfortunately, yes. Several friends in their 50s have been affected with minor symptoms. Among the parents of my friends, there are already several deceased. The coming weeks will be tough for everyone’s morale.

“We designed a solution that allows print subscriptions to be delivered digitally in just a few days. The cost of subscriptions is not wasted and employees have access to quality information (important in these days of intensified fake news!).”

What news outlets are you following?
Since Adaptive provides airlines with digital press and videos for their passengers, it is quite easy for me to follow the news on the New York Times, the Financial Times, Les Echos (the leading French business daily) and a variety of other titles. I also follow Steven Colbert’s, Jimmy Kimmel’s and John Oliver’s shows. As you can probably tell, I am a true news addict!

Can you share some specific challenges your business has faced as a result of the outbreak? How did you overcome them and how can the industry learn from your experiences?
When the crisis hit, a number of the projects we were working on were delayed or frozen. We’ve pivoted our efforts to focus on the clients who are still in operation. Our diverse team, which has brought a wider perspective to analyzing challenging issues, has been integral to how we manage difficult situations.

How can we, as an industry, work together and rebound from this unprecedented crisis?
Switching to digital brings many benefits for airlines and all involved in the industry, including resilience, agility and variable costs – all of which are key benefits in a downturn.

Some companies may have been inspired to create new product lines, or redesign existing product or services as a result of the pandemic. How is it driving innovation?
During the lockdown, employees are at home, while newspaper and magazine subscriptions are piling up in the office (if and when the postal office is able to deliver, which is less and less the case). We designed a solution that allows print subscriptions to be delivered digitally in just a few days. The cost of subscriptions is not wasted and employees have access to quality information (important in these days of intensified fake news!), which gives employees better morale and empowers them to be the most productive and successful at work.

How do you feel about your government’s response to the crisis?
The government’s response is key in ensuring that local aviation companies receive adequate state support.

What’s one thing that will never be the same again for commercial aviation?
I don’t think airlines will continue distributing print copies of in-flight magazines because post-coronavirus, passengers will be reluctant to touch them, fearing infection. This crisis will accelerate the switch to digital press, offered through a BYOD in-flight entertainment solution, such as Adaptive’s ACES solution.

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.