These include operating with a much leaner workforce and less silo-ed company structure due to airlines being trimmed amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Airlines: A Path Back To Profitability report, an initiative by travel technology company Accelya and Atmosphere Research Group, also revealed that airlines have accelerated innovation during the downtime.
For example, although just 26% of executives considered merchandising/retailing to be extremely important pre-pandemic, 49% believe it will matter more during business recovery.
In addition, 18% more executives view innovation in dynamic/continuous pricing to be extremely important during business recovery compared to before the pandemic (from 33% to 39%).
Atmosphere Research Group president Henry Harteveldt said airlines will need to take the right risks to stay afloat.
“Those airlines that are wise enough to take reasonable risks will be best positioned to advance their commerce and retailing and ultimately return to sustained profitability.
"We view 2020 as the lost year for airlines, but far from being discouraged, we see airline leaders ready to make big, bold, and even unconventional moves to get back on track," he said.
The survey consisted of two components: an online survey of over 60 airline executives around the world and confidential one-on-one telephone interviews.
Recently, AirAsia revealed that it would honour refund requests for cancelled flights amid the pandemic.
AirAsia group chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, in a video posted on Facebook, shared that 1.5 million people have been refunded since January 2020.
The remaining 450,000 outstanding refunds are still being processed.
He also added that the airlines would slowly recover, despite the dire situation.
"The reality is AirAsia hasn't flown in a year. We haven't had any financial support of any kind like a lot of government airlines," he said.
He said they were still trying to keep as many of their staff, with 10% of them relieved.