The Changing Expectations of Head Office Staff in Air Transport

Jan 27, 2021

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As Covid moves from being a pandemic to being epidemic in our lives, the world (and how we live in it) must continue to adapt. No where is this more urgent, aside from healthcare, than in the aviation sector, with a potential for almost 5m direct jobs to be lost due to the lasting impacts of the crisis (1).

This is likely to create lasting impacts on those who remain employed in the industry. With fewer colleagues in place, employees are likely to face increased pressures on their workload as operators seek to repay loans and repair balance sheets ravaged by the downturn in traffic. It looks likely that head-office job roles will take on a greater variety of tasks as airports and airlines adapt to deliver the same but with more streamlined teams. 

A survey of RDC’s 350 airline, airport and industry clients using Apex and Airportcharges.com found:

  • Business development personnel at airports reported a 15% increase in workload as they seek to backfill lost routes, work with their current airline partners to sustain services and to help their businesses understand where and when opportunities are emerging
  • All users of rdcapex.com reported an increase in the variety of their jobs, especially Analysts, indicating an increase in pressure on their existing roles as additional requests for the provision of new market intelligence were received
  • Airlines have been particularly impacted, with users of Airportcharges.com reporting significant increases in workload pressure, which have increase by more than 25% compared to before the pandemic started
  • Airline respondents also reported additional roles and responsibilities being added to the jobs in a quarter of cases

A new data landscape?

Covid has changed travel significantly with operators needing to be more reactive than ever to changing market conditions. The emergence into a post-pandemic world will not be straightforward, with the virus likely to mutate and flair-up even once vaccines have taken hold, potentially leading to travel restrictions and short-term embargoes that could render typical data sources unreliable for planning.

Whether datasets showing pre-pandemic trends in passenger itinerary and ticketed ’revenue’ will remain relevant is yet to be seen, but the need for reliable, accurate and up-to-date information will be critical to airlines seeking to maximise opportunities. With increases in workload and job varieties, the ability for users to access data and insights in a quick, easy and usable manner has never been more relevant. Many respondents to our customer survey reported the ease and speed of using our Apex and Airportcharges.com platforms, helping our clients to:

  • Assess and model the competitive landscape between airlines and airports
  • Keep abreast of rapid changes in airport charges and understand the latest Covid incentive schemes in place
  • Quickly compare the fare and profit performance of airlines in local, national and international markets to help airports understand where opportunities for growth may reside
  • Understand whether peer and competitor airports have introduced measures to support airlines during this challenging period


The cyclical nature of the aviation has resulted in agile ways of working across the industry, which will no doubt continue to evolve throughout the changes brought by the pandemic. We also see an acceleration in digitisation programmes as operators across the industry look to automate processes and start moving away from legacy back-office or people-intensive systems. At RDC, we continue to invest in helping our airline, airport and other industry partners during these uncertain times.

(1) - https://aci.aero/news/2020/09/30/up-to-46-million-jobs-at-risk-due-to-covid-19-aviation-downturn/

Gareth Kitching

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Gareth Kitching
Head of R&D

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