Between 2019 and 2024, the in-service fleet is predicted to grow annually at 3.9 percent, with Air Europa, American Airlines, IndiGo and flyadeal just some of the Aviation providers set to complete $multimillion orders and expand services in 2020.
Here are the latest news, updates and trends for Aerospace & Aviation in the year ahead:
7. Passenger Focus
Reflecting the global trend towards customer experience, flight passengers will have more options than ever before to personalise their flying experienceon board and at the airport. Options will include:
· New technology that make check-in, baggage screening, security and customs more efficient, such as LG’s check-in robots in Incheon Airport, South Korea
· Airport ride systems, including a robotic car park at London Gatwick which is set to increase car parking capacity from 6,000 to 8,500
· Greater visibility over luggage, including the ability to take liquids through security due to improved screening systems
· 5G networks for greater connectivity and customer choice.
A focus on ‘instagrammable’ and ‘local’ food options is currently being targeted towards the millennial and Generation Z audience. Many airports are sourcing meat, dairy and protein items from smaller suppliers fewer than 100 miles away, which results in a more complex supply chain but aims to cater for changing customer demographics.
5. Technology & Artificial Intelligence
With ever-increasing passenger demand, airlines will be adopting autonomous and artificial intelligence-based systems to improve efficiencies and maintain high levels of security. Screening will see biometrics working with AI through facial recognition software to reduce customer queuing times and automate certain processes to require fewer staff. Chatbots and virtual assistants will provide a streamlined customer experience when booking flights and engaging with customer services.
Data analytics, Machine learning (ML) and robotic technology will help record, analyse and predict passenger behaviour to improve airport design, customer experience and profitability.
2020 will be the year that Aviation ramps up its efforts and investments into sustainability. The sector is currently testing biofuels, striving to design lighter airframe components and considering industry carbon footprint taxes. OEMs are also investing in methods to reduce aircraft fuel consumption.
Although green aircraft may have a negative impact on travelling costs, industry leaders and governments will be prioritising reduction of waste and environmental impact.
4. Rise of Premium Economy
Could 2020 see the end of business class? Following the premium economy options offered by American Airlines, Australian Airlines and Iberia, Emirates CEO Tim Clark confirmed new premium economy seats for its Airbus A380 fleet in the next year, and Austrian Airlines have also committed to stepping up their seat offering. The new seat packages of the near future will include customer benefits such as upgraded food options, noise-cancelling headphones and a more luxurious experience.
The rise of premium economy will incorporate customer demand for more choice, with enhanced flexibility in flight ticket costs to best serve airlines and passengers.
3. Virtual Reality
In tune with efforts to improve customer experience, some airports and airlines have begun or made plans to implement virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) both in the terminal and in-flight.
Iberia’s recent “motion sickness-free” VR inflight entertainment solution has led to the expansion of VR in Aviation for both passengers and Aerospace staff:
· Etihad and Emirates are placing VR headsets in airport lounges
· Many others are offering VR headsets to watch films in-flight
· Virtual reality is being used to help those who are afraid of flying by creating a relaxing visual environment throughout flight
· Training cabin crew and new pilots with VR and AR software, currently used by the French Military
· Aircraft maintenance training for new technicians and engineers with software tools that provide an artificial detailed view inside a jet engine that enables the examining of individual aircraft parts.
The AR and VR markets for Aerospace & Defense are projected to reach over $2Million by 2025, with the likes of Microsoft and Google competing to deliver the best experiences.
2. Skills Shortage
The industry has faced an increasing skills shortage for several years, and 2020 will be no exception. 42% of Aerospace leaders identify a labour shortage in the maintenance technician field as their most urgent challenge, ahead of climate change, globalisation and political challenges such as Brexit. According to reports from Boeing, the industry will need almost 800,000 new pilots, 769,000 new maintenance technicians and 914,000 new cabin crew by 2037 just to meet demand.
Airlines and international MRO providers identifying one clear reason for the low supply of workers: a lack of interest and engagement from younger talent pools. Here’s how leaders can market Aviation as a rewarding career choice for young people.
Increased globalisation and urgent challenges such as climate change, political upheaval and ever-growing demand will require strong partnerships between governments, regulators and the Aerospace industry internationally. Communication, policy framework and innovation will aid in balancing the predicted economic growth of the industry with environmental and community impact, skills shortages and increased demand.
The UK government’s ‘Preparing for our Future UK Trade Policy’ white paper sets out plans for new and ambitious trade relationships with partners around the world following Brexit. The UK government recently conducted four public consultations on potential future trade agreements with the USA, Australia, New Zealand and on the UK’s potential accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
The sector will also see partnerships with more surprising players in the transport space. Taxi giant Uber is looking to help airports reduce congestion, improve the overall passenger experience and help airports plan ahead, and the company has created its first innovation hub at Toronto Pearson International Airport. Uber aims to help the Aerospace industry provide ‘dedicated pickup zones, elevated passenger experiences, amenities for drivers, active traffic management for pickup zones, and reasonable pick up/drop off fees that reflect the cost of our operation to the airport and the value provided to customers.’
Perhaps unexpectedly, drones will be sued for a positive force in Aerospace & Aviation. Tighter regulations around security and noise will see greater use of drones for commercial purposes in 2019, including aiding in cargo delivery and passenger services in trials.