Training Providers Prepare for Post-Covid Future

As most of the world continues the slow process of reopening, flight training providers are grappling with rebuilding their businesses with the new realities of sanitization, social-distancing, uncertain economies, and the ever-present worry of a possible second virus wave and another round of restrictions. At the same time, providers have found a resiliency through innovation that they believe will expand opportunities and provide new flexibility for students in the future.

Early on, as the pandemic set in, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) surveyed about 300 flight schools to determine how their businesses were faring amid the spread of the virus and the associated restrictions. Keith West, senior director of flight school business support for AOPA, said roughly two-thirds had shut down to some extent. That ranged from ceasing operations altogether to those that might have only conducted ground school or limited flight-training operations to students building solo hours.