Like all industries, the aviation and aerospace sector continues to see change and new developments, with the global in-service fleet expected to grow by 3.9 percent. Here are seven major trends for the aviation industry in the upcoming year.
Greater emphasis on technology:
Autonomous and artificial intelligence systems can improve efficiency and maintain high levels of security. By pairing biometrics analysis with facial recognition software, airports can reduce customer queueing times and automate certain processes, requiring fewer staff on hand. Data analytics and machine learning can record, analyze, and predict passenger behavior to better improve airport design and profitability.
Some airports and airlines have begun offering virtual reality and augmented reality services in terminals and in-flight. VR headset lounges, in-flight films watched with headsets, and more are being experimented with, and cabin crew and pilots have begun training with VR systems as well.
New technology will be used to make check-in, baggage screening, security, and customs more efficient. Airport ride systems like London Gatwick’s robotic car park are being designed to smooth out transit to and from the airport, and 5G networks are being implemented for better connectivity for mobile devices. Food and catering is also seeing changes, with an emphasis on sourcing meat and dairy products from local suppliers within 100 miles.
Aviation manufacturers are experimenting with biofuels, lighter airframe components to reduce fuel consumption, and more, while national governments are considering industry-wide carbon footprint taxes. These factors may have a negative impact on traveling costs, but industry leaders and governments are looking to prioritize reducing waste and environmental impact.
The rise of premium economy pricing options:
Companies such as American Airlines, Australian Airlines, and others are looking into more flexible pricing and service options, leading to a decline in business class and a rise in what is being referred to as “premium economy.” This includes upgraded food options, noise-cancelling headphones, and larger seats.
The aviation and aerospace industry continues to face a shortage of skilled workers, with 42% of company leaders identifying a need for maintenance technicians as their most urgent issue, ahead of climate change, globalisation, and political challenges. By 2037, the industry will need 800,000 more pilots, 769,000 new maintenance technicians, and an additional 914,000 cabin crew to meet demands.
The increasing pressure of globalization and other challenges are forcing stronger partnerships between industry leaders, governments, and regulators. Political shifts such as Brexit and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership will also need to be addressed. Business partnerships with related industries such as taxi services like Uber and Lyft can help reduce congestion with dedicated pickup zones and driver-side amenities.
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