Pilots lead the top tweeted terms in the trending industry discussions happening on Twitter by key individuals (influencers) as tracked by the platform.

1. Pilots – 160 mentions

New proposed pilot training programmes, safe working environments for pilots, and further furlough announcements, were popularly discussed during the month. According to an article shared by Dominic Gates, an aerospace reporter, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced plans for the return of Boeing 737 MAX for passenger service. Several design changes, maintenance and operation procedure changes, and revised pilot training programmes have been introduced for the aircraft after it was involved in two massive crashes, the article noted.

Jason Rabinowitz, an aviation journalist, meanwhile discussed the importance of providing safe environment spaces for pilots to operate. For instance, United Airlines was using UV-C handheld light to sanitise flight decks on most of its carriers at its airport hubs, he added.

In other news, Justin Bachman, an aviation reporter, tweeted on expected future furloughs of aviation staff in the months ahead. He added that the American Airlines Group had announced 19,000 furloughs in the month of October, including pilots, flight attendants, and others after the US Payroll Support Program expired in September.

2. Aircraft – 151 mentions

Sanitisation of aircraft, investments in unmanned aircraft systems, and zero-tolerance mask policy implemented by airlines, were some popularly discussed topics in the month of August. According to an article shared by Steve Trimble, a defence editor, the US Air Force (USAF) defined a price range of $2m – $20m for a new class of “attritable” unmanned aircraft system (UAS). Designed to be reusable, configurable attributes include survivability enhancements and resilient teaming, among others, the article noted.

Alex Macheras, an aviation analyst, meanwhile discussed how easyJet flights plying between the UK and France were allowing passengers to use the blue surgical masks on board the aircraft, citing that they provided more protection. The article noted that a passenger with a highly protective N95 mask was asked to replace with the disposable mask. WestJet Airlines, Canada, on the other hand, implemented a zero-tolerance mask policy for boarding their aircraft, according to a tweet by Howard Slutsken, an aviation writer.

In other news, Tim Robinson, an aviation consultant, discussed the new aerodynamics on the Microsoft Flight Simulator. He added that mountains, terrain and buildings affected the air mass, as much as the blade element theory on aircraft surfaces.

3. Aviation – 140 mentions

Big budget airlines failing to comply with safety protocols, relocation of crew members and operations due to civil unrest, and travelling choices of the aviation community, were popularly discussed in August. According to an article shared by Simon Calder, a travel journalist and broadcaster, Italy’s aviation authority was not convinced about how Europe’s biggest budget airline, Ryanair, followed safety protocols on board their aircraft.

ENAC, the national civil aviation authority of Italy, maintains that if the airline did not comply or improve safety standards it will cut down passenger capacity to half, ground its aircraft, and re-book passengers on rival airlines, the article noted.

Brian Sumers, an airline and travel expert, further tweeted on how United Airlines moved its entire network operations staff from the Willis Tower to a backup operation center in suburban Chicago. The airline also relocated all of its crew from downtown layover locations to airport area hotels due to the unrest in city.

In other news, Tom Korocz, a passenger service agent, tweeted that although people generally seem to select flights based on the price, a huge section of the aviation community did so based on equipment.

4. Airport – 110 mentions

The implementation of social distancing and face covering norms at airports and on commercial flights, coupled with passenger screening and testing measures, were some of the popularly discussed topics during the month. According to an article shared by Alex Macheras, an aviation analyst, it has been six months since the pandemic struck the world, yet the UK’s aviation strategy is not in place.

He further added that the UK aviation industry was the worst hit in Europe, given no means to ensure the co-existence of safe air travel and Covid-19, no nationwide measures, and the absence of passenger testing at airports.

In other news, Henry Harteveldt, an airline, hotel, and travel industry analyst, tweeted that no airline claimed that aircraft cleaning was enough to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus. In fact, face coverings and mask policy needed to be more effective at airports and on flights, he added.

5. Covid-19 – 97 mentions

Flight suspensions, positive Covid-19 cases being reported from different groups of passengers, and negative Covid-19 test results mandate for boarding flights, were popularly discussed during the month. According to an article shared by Hugo Martin, a journalist, international airline passenger contact tracing plans have been stalled through the year.

However, airlines have backed the idea of setting up an app and a site for passengers to send their contact information and other details directly to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the article noted.

In other news, Johnny Jet, a top travel blogger and influencer, shared an article on how Porter Airlines, extended its flights suspension plans until 7 October, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This is the third such delay during the health crisis. The airline maintains that the decision arose from travel restrictions that included border shutdown, mandatory quarantine after arrival and 14 days of self-isolation for non-residents who entered the region.