From The Editor: Aviation Week’s Flight Paths Forward

aircraft and clouds
Credit: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

Three months ago, I was shaking lots of hands and navigating my way through dense crowds at our SpeedNews suppliers conference in Beverly Hills when I received an ominous warning from a friend who is a doctor at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. “You may want to head home,” she texted. A week later, our offices were closed, our events were being postponed, and for the first time ever, our entire staff was working from their homes.

The COVID-19 crisis descended on Europe and North America with a suddenness and ferocity few saw coming, sending cities into lockdown, bringing airline travel to a virtual halt and choking off demand for aircraft and services. It was a gut punch to a commercial aircraft industry that had seen almost uninterrupted prosperity for 15 years. It also created an insatiable demand for information.

At Aviation Week, our editorial team has been working overtime to provide readers with information and answers about this unprecedented crisis. With this issue, we present the first article in a new feature, Flight Paths Forward. Researched and written by Executive Editor Graham Warwick, it provides a detailed examination of the future of business and general aviation and lays out three scenarios—optimistic, neutral and pessimistic—into which the sector could emerge from the coronavirus crisis. In the coming months, our editors will be providing you with similar outlooks for key areas in the air transport, defense, MRO and space industries.

Flight Paths Forward is just the latest of several new features we have created to help our readers make sense of these crazy times. Others include:

  • A new free, interactive webinar series that allows our readers to hear from and ask questions of industry CEOs, analysts and Aviation Week Network editors and data analysts. The webinars have proven immensely popular, attracting 75,000 registered viewers since mid-March. Go to to find out which webinars are coming next and view recordings of recent ones.
  • Ask the Editors, a daily online feature where our editors answer questions posed by subscribers. You can find it at:
  • Two new analytical columns for premium subscribers to the Aviation Week Intelligence Network (AWIN). In The Daily Memo, Executive Editor Jens Flottau and his team provide insightful looks at the latest trends in the air transport industry, including deep dives into clues offered by AWIN fleet data. And The Weekly Debrief offers inside analysis on military trends and technologies from Defense Editor Steve Trimble and his colleagues.

Meanwhile, our Check 6 podcast is still going strong, receiving more than 60,000 downloads in May and ending the month on a strong note when SpaceX’s Elon Musk and Gwynne Shotwell joined Space Editor Irene Klotz to preview the launch of two astronauts to the International Space Station. 

Our editors also will continue to report regularly, online and in print, on pivotal technology developments in fields such as hypersonics, electric propulsion, autonomy and additive manufacturing. Our series on efforts to make the aviation industry more sustainable also goes on, highlighting paths toward a greener future as companies recover.

Looking ahead, the town of Farnborough may be quiet in July, but we won’t be. To coincide with what would have been the aviation industry’s biggest air show of 2020, we are planning to roll out a massive package of content online and in print: interviews with leading aerospace CEOs, updates on next-generation fighter programs and European defense cooperation, webinars, “Tech Talk” podcasts and in-depth features on the future of key aerospace and defense OEMs and suppliers.

The aviation sector is beginning to claw its way out of this crisis. There is a long recovery ahead, and the coming months will be painful. But our global team of more than two dozen reporters will be here every step of the way to help you understand what’s coming and the ways in which COVID-19 will reshape our industry for years to come.

Joe Anselmo

Joe Anselmo has been Editorial Director of the Aviation Week Network and Editor-in-Chief of Aviation Week & Space Technology since 2013. Based in Washington, D.C., he directs a team of more than two dozen aerospace journalists across the U.S., Europe and Asia-Pacific.