The worst two years in aviation history were caused by the coronavirus epidemic. There are many causes to be upbeat about the future, despite this momentous difficulty. Aviation courses in Kerala will help you to start a career in the industry.
We examine the top ten potential for aviation in the post-COVID era in that vein, while keeping in mind the threats the sector confronts.
Unmet travel demand
The coronavirus pandemic no longer has control over the tourism industry, despite the fact that it has not yet been formally proclaimed to be gone and may not be for some time.
People are itching to travel once more after two years of travel restrictions, postponed events, cancelled plans, and tremendous longing to see family and friends. They have been reducing limitations in large numbers ever since they first began.
Despite the Ukraine war, ongoing travel restrictions in China, and a constant stream of depressing news about the state of the world economy, there has remained a strong enough demand for travel to cause passenger numbers to steadily rise.
According to revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs), which are a measure of total travel demand, data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) from July 2022 revealed a 59 percent increase in demand over the previous year. The demand from abroad, which rose by 151% in a year, is largely to blame. At this time, total worldwide traffic is at 74.6% of pre-crisis levels.
Additionally, ticket costs have increased dramatically since the start of the crisis. In comparison to summer 2019, US travellers spent 34 percent higher for domestic flights and 2.5 percent more for overseas flights.
The resurgence of global air travel is strong enough to convince IATA that a full recovery can now be reached by 2023—a full year sooner than first envisaged.
Although the need to make up for lost time is giving airlines and the suppliers and service providers a much-needed cash boost, strong travel demand may not have been the only factor driving up airfares over the summer vacation season. Rising fuel prices certainly played a significant impact.
A growing middle class guarantees a rise in demand for travel.
Even after all of those postponed travel plans materialise, significant demographic and economic shifts are anticipated to guarantee that demand for travel around the world keeps rising.
The COVID-19 epidemic has partly slowed this growth, but overall, the world’s population is rapidly increasing its disposable income. According to Credit Suisse’s 2021 Global Wealth Report, the world’s middle class tripled between 2000 and 2020, growing from 507 million adults to 1.7 billion.
The world’s middle class is anticipated to grow significantly over the next ten years. The number of adults in the middle class worldwide could reach upwards of 5.3 billion by 2030, in large part due to the economic expansion in Asia, where one billion persons are anticipated to join the group.
From the standpoint of the aviation sector, this demographic shift portends an infusion of new potential passengers.
The greening of aviation
The world saw severe heatwaves in the spring and summer of 2022, underscoring the perils of a planet that is warming up as well as the urgency of moving away from fossil fuels.
Naturally, this also applies to the aviation industry, which generates about 2% of total worldwide emissions. Therefore, reducing aviation emissions is a win-win situation for the sector and the environment.
This is why IATA, which represents 290 airlines and over 80% of all commercial air travel, has approved a commitment to attain net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The first industry to formally commit to a carbon reduction plan was the aviation sector.
IATA’s net-zero strategy advocates for reducing direct emissions in the sector at the source and making up the difference through techniques like carbon capture and the CORSIA offsetting programme.
Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), which is anticipated to make up 65 percent of the sector’s total fuel usage by 2050, is crucial to the emissions-reduction component. There have been some fascinating developments during the past year A United Airlines trip from Chicago to Washington, DC, became the first passenger flight in the history of the planet in December 2021. Airbus executed a three-hour test flight of an A380 powered only by SAF three months later. But there is still much to be done. Less than 1% of all aviation fuel was made from SAF as of 2021.
Major engine manufacturers are competing to power the more environmentally friendly aircraft of the future, and the top companies in the industry are committed to greener solutions. Boeing has stated that it will operate on 100 percent SAF by 2030. In the meantime, fresh startups are always coming up with fresh concepts for decarbonizing aircraft.
It is advantageous for the industry to reduce emissions by doing all of the above. In a time of historically high jet fuel prices, fuel-efficient aircraft are less expensive for airlines to run, and the competition to create the greener aircraft of the future is fostering exciting innovation. Aviation institutes in Ernakulam can help a candidate to understand the industry more deeply.
Some design improvements are being sparked by the search for more environmentally friendly solutions, which could lead to a significant change in the appearance of the aeroplanes we board in 15 to 20 years.
For instance, as part of its experiment with hydrogen-powered aircraft, Airbus is developing the futuristic-looking Blended-Wing Body ZEROe concept.
Since the Concorde was retired, there may be a commercial supersonic flight in the next years. In August, American Airlines revealed that it had reached an agreement with US startup Boom Supersonic to buy 20 Overture airlines, with the option to buy 40 more. The Overture will fly at Mach 1.7, which is twice as fast as any current commercial aircraft, and can accommodate up to 80 passengers. American Airlines said that it could fly more than 600 routes using its fleet of Overtures in as little as half the time it currently needs.
United Airlines has the option to purchase 35 more aircraft in addition to the 15 Overture aircraft it currently owns. Virgin Galactic and Lockheed Martin are developing their own supersonic planes as Boeing and companies like Hermeus and Venus try to boost the ante with hypersonic aircraft designs that might carry passengers at five times the speed of sound within 20 to 30 years.
Naturally, the high-profile failure of the Concorde hangs over these different endeavours. Although Air France Flight 4590’s fatal crash in 2000 may have put an end to the Concorde, its high costs to both passengers and carriers were ultimately what did. There are still “some basic uncertainties regarding the technological and economic sustainability of high-speed commercial air transport,” despite the resurgence of supersonic and hypersonic aircraft. . to quote John Olds, the CEO of SpaceWorks, a company NASA has hired to investigate the feasibility of high-speed commercial flying from an economic and technological standpoint.
Small passenger aircraft with diamond-shaped, propeller-lined wings, autonomous aircraft of various shapes and sizes carrying both passengers and cargo (more on those in #6), and hydrogen-powered cargo aircraft that resemble a futuristic reimagining of the zeppelin are a few other new innovations we might see in the skies. Not to mention the different ways airlines are redesigning the inside of their cabins or the ongoing competition to create the aeroplane engine of the future.
Modernizing the world fleet
The global fleet will get a more aesthetically understated but desperately needed makeover as older aircraft are retired and replaced by newer, more energy-efficient versions before we get to any of the futuristic aircraft outlined above.
Although airlines have traditionally changed their fleets on occasion, many industry observers anticipated that the COVID-19 slump would cause a “retirement tsunami.” Thanks in large part to government bailouts, the “tsunami” turned out to be more like a ripple. The 803 commercial aircraft that were put out of service in 2016 were significantly more than the 677 commercial aircraft that were decommissioned in the pandemic-stricken 2020. In 2021, only 344 aircraft—or barely 1.4 percent of the total fleet—were retired.
However, airlines are anticipated to speed up fleet modernization in the upcoming years, with Aviation Week projecting a 1,000 retirements per year average between 2025 and 2031. The fact that next-generation aircraft often have a fuel efficiency improvement of 15% to 20% is a major factor in this.
The two major airframers, Airbus and Boeing, have order books that indicate their future fleet renewal plans. The two manufacturers received three times as many gross orders in 2021 compared to the previous year, according to Reuters.
Air travel in cities really takes off
Flying automobiles have been touted as the pinnacle of a technological utopia for many years. While we haven’t exactly arrived there yet, we are definitely near to it.
Urban air mobility (UAM) and advanced air mobility (AAM) vehicle improvements in recent years have almost totally formed a new business within an industry. Soon, UAM and AAM vehicles will have access to their own air transportation network that could coexist with, compete with, or perhaps be eventually absorbed by the current commercial aviation industry.
The two major original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), CityAirbus and Boeing NeXt, are creating their own UAM vehicles, but there is no assurance that the airframer duopoly will rule the UAM era.
In recent years, a large number of startups have emerged to create manned and unmanned electric short take-off and landing (eSTOL) and vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicles. Uncertainty surrounds who will eventually dominate this market, but businesses like Vertical Aerospace, Joby, SkyDrive, Eve, Electra, and Volocopter, to mention a few, are all competing to be the first to bring the world of The Jetsons into the real world.
Certainly, investors are optimistic about the future of UAM and AAM. In 2021, investments in AAM companies reportedly totaled $7.5 billion, an increase of eight times the $913 billion made just two years earlier, according to Roland Berger. According to the consultancy, as of January 2022, some 8,700 air mobility aircraft orders had been placed.
Robotics streamline supply chains and repairs
We are also moving into an era of highly developed robotics, keeping with our concept of “the future is today.”
Since a few years ago, the employment of robotics in the maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) industry has been a hot issue, and the increased efficiency that they may provide are especially encouraging given the labour scarcity in the industry.
MRO robotics are already being used for everything from complex inspection jobs to repairing single parts, as we wrote back in 2019.
Robotics and automation also provide warehouses a great chance to become more productive and quick, logistical advancements that will also help the aviation supply chain.
Airports and aeroplane exteriors have also been cleaned by robots for a while, but the coronavirus pandemic has hastened their widespread adoption and introduced robots that can clean and disinfect cabins of aircraft.
The ongoing digital transformation
We hardly ever pause to consider how far we’ve come because digitalization has permeated every aspect of contemporary travel. The majority of us now purchase tickets using one of the several agencies that scour the web for the greatest offers. We use a self-service kiosk to check our bags once we get to the airport. We access our digital boarding permits and proof of immunisation on our phones at the gate, scan them using a reader, and board the aircraft. Through advanced in-flight technologies, we have access to a world of entertainment right at our seats. If we don’t like what we see there, we may use our own devices to connect to the onboard internet.
These days, we hardly recall travelling in any other way because everything is so routine.
However, the benefits of digital advancements extend beyond the passenger. As aircraft become increasingly connected, sophisticated real-time data can be collected, which when paired with machine learning, enables operators to reduce fuel use, expand airspace capacity, and assure more efficient routes.
Continued improvements in predictive maintenance will reduce unplanned maintenance occurrences that can result in costly AOG time in the aftermarket and MRO sectors.
Digital markets that reduce paperwork and time-consuming manual processes are used by both buyers and sellers of aeroplane parts. Buyers may easily acquire new, excess, and used serviceable materials (USM) with a digital paper trail proving certification and repairs thanks to digital solutions. While this is going on, sellers can significantly grow their customer base, more quickly monetize their excess inventory, and boost overall sales.
‘Local for local’ supply chains are an opportunity
There have been shortages of everything from beer and vegetables to computer chips and construction supplies as a result of the 2021–22 global supply chain crisis. Aircraft parts like engine parts, wire connectors, and electronics, as well as essential raw materials like aluminium and titanium, are all being affected directly by the crisis. The issue has the potential to completely halt the industry’s recovery.
However, the supply chain dilemma may ultimately result in more regionalized solutions that are less susceptible to geopolitical occurrences like war, governmental border restrictions, and trade conflicts.
Roland Berger contends that the current system “is no longer resilient enough” in a paper that calls for the demise of the aviation industry’s “global for local” supply chain paradigm.
According to the report, “the aerospace supply chain is at the beginning of a significant transformation.” Current global supply-chain structures are being called into question by growing pressures like geopolitics and sustainability, necessitating action on the part of OEMs and suppliers. It recommends the creation of two “local for local” supply chains to serve North America and Europe, respectively, instead of relying on obtaining necessary parts and components from remote regions, with the possibility of a third localised supply chain centred around China.
A diverse array of new entrepreneurs propels the sector forward
The names of aerospace companies striving to make their mark in an industry that the head of an aviation incubator programme described as “a pretty closed shop” run by a few key players have been strewn across this piece.
The business that solves the puzzle of SAF’s universal acceptance, becomes the leading air taxi of the future, or transports passengers over the Atlantic in a matter of hours may be working covertly. Or perhaps the largest commercial airlines, major engine makers, and OEMs will take advantage of their structural advantages to be the first to reach these milestones and others.
The truth is that we just don’t know which businesses will rule in the future. But the aviation sector can only benefit from the infusion of new businesses and innovative ideas.
These are the top 10 opportunities we see as aviation transitions from the COVID-19 epidemic to the new normal. By joining one of the best aviation institutes in Kochi like Reliant Institute of Aviation, Kochi you can know more about the industry.