The airline industry is much challenged. Over the last few years, the airlines have been able to harness those challenges and to transform them into profitable opportunities. The industry’s ability to accomplish this has been amazing. As they constantly evaluate their metrics, the bottom line has evolved to a healthy place that has allowed the airlines to properly manage its competition. With rising passenger expectations, fuel costs, regulation changes and stiff competition, 2021 is sought to be a transformational year in an airline’s projections.
According to the forecast by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the airline industry sector can anticipate another year of net profit growth. As each airline is looking to gain more market share along with the inclusion of updated technology, evaluating their operations and marketing strategies, they must be prepared to adapt to the forecasted trends so that they can better navigate obstacles and outperform their competition.
Not only are the airlines competing against one another but so are airports. Each city’s airport presentation has a profound impact on the local economy. In fact, airports are considered as the crown jewel of the connection between tax revenue and job growth. Airports provide an opportunity to attract businesses to a city with their positive impact on the first impression of a visitor. The more technologically advanced an airport is, it will have a profound impact on the arrival and departures of various airlines. Hence, airports are the testing ground for new technology, and how they can impact global growth and passenger traffic will make any city an attractive hub for business development.
Here are some 2021 airline industry trends to keep an eye on.
1. The utilization of robots
Robots are establishing themselves to be the first to assist passengers during the busy times at airports.
2. Passenger solutions
The integration of the 5G network has begun. This feature is a way of airports acknowledging the demands of its passengers. Both the airlines and the airports from the ever evolving product-oriented demand to the passenger-oriented demand. Passengers are now having the influence to make changes through technology instead of a results oriented product based evaluation strategy. The adoption of various technologies helping passengers quickly maneuver through an airport enhances their experience with the result being overwhelmingly positive. For example, if you can move quickly through checking baggage, security and customs expeditiously, the likelihood of a travel preference to a specific city’s airport is increased which brings about a positive local financial impact. These changes in the airline industry are making competition stiff around the globe.
3. Liquid rules to be eased
There are three areas that are causing the most anguish with passengers and they are removing items like liquids, gels and electronics. Through the advent of enhanced technology, this will soon become days of the past. Some of the screening and detection equipment are being utilized to screen in a much more effective way without the need for removal of such products. Artificial intelligence powered scanners will be able to determine what was once considered to be dangerous to be transitioned into considered a safe items. In fact those items such as belts and keys are also being tested to ease the burden of passenger inconveniences. This will help screeners across the world make better decisions.
With passengers able to pass through security checkpoints quicker in the airport, flight operations, and passages, passenger satisfaction will be greatly improved and as walk traffic will flow seamlessly. These adjustments will also provide a financial benefit to all involved.
4. A more paperless and trustworthy system
With blockchain technology being fully embraced now by the airline industry and regulators, there is hope to improve safety and security functions. With this technology, you will have the ability to store and track more information with less paper. This transparency is viewed as an asset with the increase in passenger travel, domestic or internationally, reducing the need for manual verifications.
What is now becoming a reality, biometrics are now becoming the future in aviation travel. There have been several trial runs of face recognition technology utilized in major airports around the world. There has also been the introduction of palm-vein identification. The overall objective is to reduce security lines and putting more functionalities at an airplane’s gates. This reduces the need for manpower and increases the speed at which passengers board their flights. There is a significant push for airports and airlines to incorporate this technology.
6. Designed security
With the increase in passenger traffic, the adoption of more autonomous solutions with technological enhancements is increasing the incorporation of new designs into airports. With the additional pressure being put on quicker security processing at airports, a reduction in high-impact incidents is imminent. Through the partnering with technology companies, the progression of improved equipment to prevent such incidents is in process.
With airlines doing more with cloud-hosted technology, they are able to streamline some processes and reduce their front-in money investments. As passenger flow is gaining more attention in the airline industry, the modernizing of airline infrastructures is improving in the areas of communication and coordination.
8. The concealed threat
Having the ability to handle disruptions is vital to the generation of revenue and the continuity of business. Both factors have a direct impact on the airline industry. With the addition of new technology, the industry itself has done quite well thus far. However, the concealed threats have increased their pressure on the need for improvement. One example of this is the pilotless drone.
Globally, airports are integrating counter-UAS [unidentified aerial systems) technology to minimize flight disruption with the anticipation of increasing their investment in this area. The defense industry is working closely with the airline industry to assist in creating a solution from such threats.
9. Air-traffic control improvements
Through the increase in flight traffic, air traffic controllers are under constant duress as they are being pushed to the limits to maintain and keep organized what has resulted in congested airspace. As technologically complex the system has become, the digitalization and modernization of the entire air-traffic control system is well needed. It is increasingly becoming difficult to run flight operations on time without these enhancements.
Traffic growth is pushing the air-traffic control infrastructure and capacity further toward their limits and is becoming a big challenge in an incredibly congested airspace, this concept is reinforced by the technical complexity of the integration of unmanned aircraft systems into civilian airspace. However, the introduction of remote control centers has made its presence to the world. With this approach, there is a strong opportunity for investors to redesign the system of how airspace control is managed.
10. Going green
The “greener” that airplanes are becoming, the results of this transition are leading to more tests but with tremendous costs. Due to the lower fuel prices, investments into green research in aviation has deterred progression. Industry experts anticipate an increase in fares due to this lack of progress.
Having the ability to reduce an aircraft’s fuel consumption is a top priority for airplane makers. There is a limit to the amount of additional power and flight systems that an airplane manufacturer can develop. By rethinking the frame of an airplane, there is an opportunity to produce a greener aircraft but at what cost. Simultaneously, airports are evaluating how they can reduce their ecological footprint through technological enhancements.
Airline Industry Stats and Growth Projections in 2021
- If you were take all the countries in the world, in terms of gross domestic product, aviation would rank 20th if it was measured as a country.
- An airport control tower must be precisely angled at 15° so that there will be no reflection challenges neither inside nor outside of the tower.
- Internationally, the aviation industry has contributed about 4.4 times higher aviation jobs than other jobs. This has a tremendous impact on the overall global economy.
- About 33% of overall airline costs is associated with fuel.
- The airline industry contributes about 65 million jobs worldwide along with it having positive derivative effects on the tourism industry.
While the airline industry is preparing for the future of aviation, it is imperative that we all make our contributions to the progress of this industry. The airlines, municipalities, and our economic growth depend on it.