As I write this column, the world is wrangling with the COVID-19 pandemic. Life has changed dramatically for a lot of industries and people. For example, in looking at commercial aviation, many borders in a lot of countries are closed. Quarantines are in place in many areas and assuming you can travel, you may have a 14-day stay in quarantine when you get there.
Air travel has dropped by an enormous percent and airlines are mothballing existing aircraft, slashing routes as well as employees. Locally, most Embry-Riddle students are home, so flight hours here at the Prescott Airport have gone down significantly. Some students are still flying, but it’s a far smaller number than before the pandemic.
Other industries are equally impacted. Restaurants are either closed or offering drive-thru and take-out service with a significantly reduced staff. Hotels will likely be decreasing their workforce in the very near future if they haven’t already started doing so. Gyms, clubs, bars and movie theaters are closed. Most of these workers are hourly, so they are no doubt significantly impacted. Salaried workers may be slightly better off, but most companies likely will not be able to maintain payroll without income, and layoffs may come along quickly.
So far in Arizona, we haven’t gotten to a situation where all but essential businesses are ordered closed, like some states, but that day may be coming. Meanwhile, our government cannot seem to agree on how to provide relief for this unprecedented situation. To be fair, we are in a situation without much historical precedent.
Businesses just like individuals have bills and expenses. We rent or purchase facilities, have contracts for services and other obligations. Small businesses, such as my business, do not have huge cash reserves. Having worked with restaurant owners, I do know their margins can be very small. Without some help or relief, small and large business may struggle to survive.
Many shutdowns are ranging from two weeks to 30 days. It would be reasonable to expect that business owners are provided an extension to pay their bills. This pandemic may very well be over in a short time, but recovery from the economic carnage could take much longer.
Part of surviving this pandemic is attitude – we can either wallow in despair or deal with the lemons we’ve been given and make some lemonade. The pandemic will pass. Our attitude will determine a lot about how we come out of it.
At Leighnor Aircraft, we had some very exciting partnerships in the works as well as further expansion of our rental fleet when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. We are still working on those partnerships and growth, planning for that better tomorrow when the storms of today pass.
You may have seen the “Keep Calm and Carry On” memes on the Internet, stickers or t-shirts. The original saying came from Great Britain during the darkest hours of World War II when the government was trying to keep up civilian morale.
While we can’t carry on as usual because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we can carry on with living. Tomorrow will still come. What kind of tomorrow will depend on our actions today. QCBN
By Lance Leighnor
Lance Leighnor has four decades of experience in general aviation aircraft, and active management of rental aircraft since 2011. Lance is the managing member of Leighnor Aircraft. He can be reached by phone at 928-499-3080, by email at lance@LeighnorAircraft.com or via the Leighnor Aircraft website at LeighnorAircraft.com.