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An analysis of how the airline industry can leverage digital marketing to spark

Executive Summary

While the covid-19 pandemic has significantly impacted a wide range of industries including business and manufacturing as well as tourism and sports, no industry has been hit as hard as the airline industry. This industry, whose business strategy is entirely dependent transporting individuals into different continents and countries was permanently grounded for the better part of 2020 due to the widespread disease that led to many countries closing their borders. In addition to the billions in losses made due to the cut out of air travel, a majority of the airplanes became significantly obsolete in the period that they were grounded leading to double loses to airline companies (Subramanian, 2020). However now that with the development of the vaccine the industry along all others making up the international economy is looking to redevelop and recover. Advanced technology which has seen the rise of popularity to online services including social media, e-commerce and online marketing provides one such route to redevelopment of the Airline industry. The study looks to evaluate and determine how digital marketing can be adopted as a tool to effectively spark redevelopment of the airline industry. This proposal will include a brief background of study, an outline of the problem statement, study aims and objectives as well as the justification and methodology applied in the course of the research.


Background of the study.

The airline industry is without a doubt one of the hardest hit industry due to the outbreak of the corona virus pandemic. According to Subramanian (2020) unlike most industries, the Aviation industry was impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic in two distinct ways; the fear of contagion among individuals in different countries decreased the market due to the fear of traveling among individuals. In addition, the pandemic significantly impacted the world economy limiting the people’s ability to fly. Both these ways significantly led to the drop in the number of tickets sold by almost 70% in the first few months of the outbreak (Melas and Melasova, 2020). A prediction by Iata.Org (2020) in March, 2020 just at the beginning of the pandemic indicated a potential $63 billion loss from revenues on air travel in a scenario where the virus is contained and $113 billion in a crisis situation. However, less than 12 months later the impact has amounted to $391 billion necessitating the need for redevelopment and resurgence strategies. The impact further spread to other industries and businesses that are significantly reliant on the aviation industry including business and tourism leading to loss of jobs and a significant impact on the international economy. According to Iata.Org (2020) up to 4.8 million jobs were lost within the aviation industry by the beginning of 2021 in addition to over $630 billion in reduced GDP benefits from air travel related tourism and 26.4 million job loses within the tourism sector. While this loses have had significant impacts to the global economy in the past 12 months, with the discovery of the vaccine and the potentially minimized contagion rates, the airline industry and the general economy is looking to redevelop and re-emerge. With the minimized ticket sales and the predominant fear of traveling, Airlines have to develop new ways of reaching their clients and guaranteeing their safety in traveling again to impact increased ticket sales. Digital Marketing provides a significant channel and outlet for reconnecting and recapturing their markets leading to the redevelopment of the sector. According to Barone (2020), digital Marketing, sometimes referred to as online marketing or internet marketing is an aspect of marketing that entirely uses the internet, online platforms and digital technologies such as computers, mobile phones, digital billboards and other digital media to engage customers and promote different products and services. With the emergence and popularity of the internet and digital platforms, online marketing has rapidly grown to become the main channel of advertisement and marketing for several key companies and industries and presents a potential outlet for the aviation industry to be able to reach their customers and revive the industry rapidly. Sherman (2019) advances some of the distinct benefits of digital marketing to include a global and instant outreach, low cost of advertisement, possibility for personalization of the advert, measurable results, immediate feedback and improved conversion rates.

Problem statement

The impact of Covid-19 in the aviation industry has been quite significant and unprecedented according to Subramanian (2020). This impact has led to significant overflow to other economic sectors including, tourism, business, education and many more, all of which have had subsequent negative impact on the global economy and financial growth. As such, resuscitation of the Aviation industry is significantly necessary not only for the sector but also for numerous other sectors and industries within the economy. Given the key ways that the industry was impacted including minimized travels due to the depression in the economy as a result of the virus as well as the fear of traveling which impacted lesser ticket sales overtime, reconnecting with the clients and the market and providing an assurance of the safety of travel as well as improved value and experience is among the key strategies to spark redevelopment and resurgence. Digital Marketing provides the perfect platform for enabling the reconnection and informing the clients and market of the new and valuable offers and experience available in Air travel while maintaining minimal physical contact and possibility for contagion. However how can airline industries adopt digital marketing to achieve this redevelopment and resurgence? This study looks to evaluate how the various digital marketing techniques and strategies can be adopted to impact increased ticket sales and increased air travel and subsequently enable the redevelopment of the aviation industry globally.

Research Aims and objectives

Aim of the study

The study aims to evaluate how the various digital marketing techniques and strategies can be adopted to impact increased ticket sales and increased air travel and subsequently enable the redevelopment of the aviation industry globally.

Research Objectives

To effectively realize the aim of the study, it was broken down into specific objectives that will inform the study including;

To critically investigate the different ways in which the aviation industry was impacted by the Corona virus pandemic To systematically evaluate and delineate available literature regarding digital marketing and its distinct impact on various economic sectors To find out how digital marketing can be adopted to help spark resurgence in the airline industry post covid-19 pandemic

Research Questions

  1. How has the airline industry been impacted by the corona virus pandemic?
  2. How is digital marketing distinctively different and significant from all available marketing strategies suitable for the airline industry?
  3. In which specific ways can digital marketing be adopted by the airline industry to impact redevelopment?

Justification of the Study

In the last five decades the development of technology and the internet has significantly impacted human life and endeavors. Technology has had significant benefits including enhanced information sharing and communication which is increasingly impacting partnership and coordination leading to enhanced human development. Technology and the internet has also been adopted as significant solutions for a wide range of problems making life much better and business processes and strategy more effective and efficient, the findings of this study seek to exploit the use of technology and the internet to solve one of the most impactful challenge of our time in the redevelopment of airline industry and international travel. International travel is the backbone of global economic development and as such solving the airline crisis significantly contributes towards the solution of an economic crisis. The study recognizes the potential of digital marketing on the contemporary business environment and aims to highlight ways that it can be used to resuscitate the crippled airline industry. As such it can be adopted by the marketing department of airline industries as a strategy for reconnecting with their clients and customers for a controlled and guided redevelopment phase.

Research Methodologyy

Research Method

The study will significantly engage the analysis of how different digital marketing techniques can be adopted by airline companies to recapture the attention and interest of their clients and customers and encourage them towards resuming air travel whenever necessary through guaranteeing safety, quality services and new and better experiences. As such, while significant statistical and numerical data will be used in the study a majority of the data collected will be descriptive leading to the adoption of a qualitative research technique.

Secondary Data Collection

The study is interested in digital marketing techniques as such the target population would include articles touching on digital marketing research. While the study will mostly target marketing peer-reviewed articles published within the past 10 years. The articles will be identified by keying in keywords to such online databases as ScienceDirect, ProQuest, Emarald, EBSCO, and Google Scholar. The sampling process will include noting the articles hits from each databases then subjecting to PRISMA framework as a systematic process of choosing articles that best captures the scope and aim of the research. The inclusion and exclusion criteria will includes peer reviewed articles, those published over the past 10 years, published in English, and outlines the systematic primary data collection process. The study as such will employ a random purposive sampling technique in the collection of data from respondents. According to Plankas et al. (2015) purposeful sampling is a qualitative research technique often adopted in studies for the identification and selection of information-rich cases related to the phenomenon of interest. Further the study will use secondary data.

Data Analysis

The study will adopt thematic analysis and descriptive analysis for the analysis of the data collected towards highlighting how digital marketing can be used to spark redevelopment in the airline industry. According to Braun and Clarke (2006) thematic analysis is a data analysis technique that leverages the known information with regards to the study to develop patterns, themes and ideas out of the data. The themes and patterns highlighted are associated with answering the respective research questions as such providing the possibility of an effective inference to answer the research.

Ethical Consideration

Minimal potential risk is envisioned for the study as far as safety and dignity of the articles is concerned. The research involves the collection of secondary with no direct contact with human interaction and the use of humans as the major information source. Ethical considerations in terms of relevant courtesy to be afforded the various individuals while collecting this information as outlined by British Psychological Association (2014) is therefore a major concern. In order to advance integrity of the data and knowledge development from information gathered, data will be cited and referenced accordingly

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Schedules and Timescale

Schedules and Timescale

Limitations of the Stud

Despite the potential significance and impact of the study upon its release to the global economy, the study has significant challenges and limitations to be considered and countered. A time constraint is one of the significant challenges of the study. While sufficient time is required for adequate research and study for effective and inclusive outcomes, the existence of the crisis and need of a potential answer within the shortest time possible to resuscitate the economy provides a limitation in the amount of time that is available. As such, the study will have to be limited to up to half of the time it is scheduled for to enable timely outcome and effective impact in the economy. The study is also limited to the range of population to use. Given the significant emergency situation in the industry at the moment and an expected workload, gaining access to the respective individuals to impact the study will be difficult and in all probability a limiting factor.


Barone, A., 2020. Digital Marketing. [online] Investopedia. Available at: [Accessed 10 February 2021]

Braun, V. and Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology, Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77-101

British Psychological Association, 2014. Code of Human Research Ethics. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 February 2021], 2020. IATA Updates COVID-19 Financial Impacts -Relief Measures Needed-. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 February 2021]., 2020. The impact of COVID-19 on aviation | Airlines.. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 February 2021].

Melas, D. and Melasová, K., 2020. The Early Impact of Covid-19 Pandemic on the Aviation Industry. Acta Avionica Journal, pp.38-44.

Palinkas, L. A., Horwitz, S. M., Green, C. A., Wisdom, J. P., Duan, N. and Hoagwood, K. (2015). Purposeful sampling for qualitative data collection and analysis in mixed method implementation research, Adm Policy Ment Health, 42(5): 533–544.

Sherman, 2019. Top 10 Benefits of Digital Marketing - LYFE Marketing. [online] Digital Marketing Blog. Available at: [Accessed 10 February 2021].

Subramanian, S., 2020. Inside the airline industry's meltdown. [online] the Guardian. Available at: [Accessed 10 February 2021].

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