Now wait, wait, wait! Before you bring out the torches and pitch-forks, please hear me out.
I don't want the economy to fail. I don't want people to suffer. What I want to do is provide a lens on our future by looking at our past. Granted, "past performance is not indicative of future results", but it can provide some perspective.
Let's take a walk through some occurrences of economic downturn (in particular how they affected the aviation sector) to convince the reader that this pandemic is not the end of the world. (Unless it is, in which case you can stop reading now.) If you'll indulge me, please take a walk back in time....
9-11 and The Great Recession (2008)
Look at the charts below:
With 24 hour access to the internet, a constant barrage of information from media, etc., we are consumers of instant gratification and have very short-term memories related to historical events. Maybe not as severe or as quickly onset, but we've been here before (economically speaking). Aviation is cyclical and we're approaching a trough. The charts above, however, show the last two down cycles recovered back to "normal" levels.
And now, go wayyyy back....
1929: Stock Market Crash.....And birth of the Golden Age!
The hay-day of the "Roaring '20s" culminated in one of the American economy's biggest "bubbles" with the free-fall and terrible collapse of equity markets, with catastrophic global implications. For a decade, many couldn't find work and had only the charity of other humans as a basis of survival. It was horrible.
So what is one to do when there is nothing else to count on.......GO FLY!
Despite the economic woes, aviation literally took off in the era known as the Golden Age of Flight.
"Americans were wild about aviation in the 1920s and '30s, the period between the two world wars that came to be known as the Golden Age of Flight. Air races and daring record-setting flights dominated the news. Airplanes evolved from wood-and-fabric biplanes to streamlined metal monoplanes. The military services embraced air power. Aviation came of age."
The Golden Age ushered in a new way of travel, but more importantly, it brought the world closer together. The economy, and aviation, would soar.
The Way Ahead
The pandemic is terrible. But if history is any teacher, the aviation industry will recover. It may take a while and require patience. Aviation, and the world WILL recover. We have the opportunity to make the "new normal" a better normal. Let's strive for a new Golden Age.