AVIATION TECHNOLOGY

Path to Recovery: Aviation Trends to Expect in the Next Five Years

Anusree Bhattacharya | August 31, 2021

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Is the aviation industry finally reviving after the devastating 2020? If yes, then what will it show in the next five years?

2020 will be remembered in airline history as the most turbulent year to date. Due to the pandemic, the period brought massive changes in the airline industry—business models and customer behavior globally. As a result, regaining customer confidence and reforming business models have become a critical factor for airlines to uncloud the economic storm and remain a formidable competitor in the years of uncertainty ahead.

Technologies that were being used before the pandemic are now being studied well with vividness. The inclusion of new technologies is onboarding, which somehow sets up new aviation industry trends. These will be a timely solution to fight the ongoing economic instability and challenges pouring in.

To increase safety notions, boost business confidence, customer trust, and making airline operations more efficient, adaptability and high intelligent business outline is the new blueprint for survival and growth to happen in the next five years.


Drivers of Emerging Trends

The intention of emerging trends in the airline industry is from weak signals from a wide range of fields, including threats, technology, and potentiality to function remotely, impacting the industry’s all-over operational dynamics.

The trends are setting primarily due to the winds of change pounding the industry from different directions. Be it from technological, demographical to environmental shifts. Understanding the potential business landscape is therefore critical to ensure what the future of air travel will be.

During a study conducted by IATA, business leaders in the airline industry identified the most critical drivers of emerging trends that were probable to have an influential impact by 2035. Also, these drivers suggest bringing more and more opportunities in business models and operational models of the industry beyond 2020.

Therefore, it is the hope of all airline companies (you) that how you will be affected by future developments and how the entire business landscape will be changed by the trends discussed here. So, take advantage of the opportunities that some of these trends may give rise to.


Leading Aviation Trends to Expect

Cybersecurity

Today, the importance of cybersecurity technology in the airline industry is rising. Airlines, now being aware of the downsides of using traditional operational models, is becoming more concerned about delivering high-performance using technology.

With having well-operated cybersecurity functionality onboard, airlines are focusing on becoming more agile to scale their infrastructure. Also, in the next five years, increased connectivity between the real and virtual world, including robots, will eventually end the boundaries between virtual and physical security.

IATA’s research with the London School of Economics found that the aviation industry will invest $15 billion by 2035, thanks to connected operations.

Moreover, as cybersecurity matures, it will be seen as the most secure and scalable way of operating organizational data, and processing will be easier than before. You will have your airline documents within a secured centralized database, which will reduce silos of information that pose security risks and threats.


Biometric Technology

The pandemic, apart from bringing challenges, has helped businesses to leverage influential ideas to foster. Yes, it has made the airline industry emphasize the high usage of biometrics as a must-have technology stack. Biometrics is on the rise that can reinforce the idea of touchless operations in airports.

The airline industry forecast has laid primary focus on self-service. However, as the blend of software and technology is more in demand, applications will be more defined than before in the coming five years. The technology will allow automated checks, self-service systems using devices like mobile, tablets, and others and cover iris, face recognition, fingerprint, which will even work with PPE masks.

The industry is already making great experiences that allow businesses to conduct frictionless operations using biometric software and hardware. For example, in November 2020, Star Alliance introduced a novel interoperable biometric identity scanner platform for screening employees and passengers at airports.


AI & Big Data

Artificial Intelligence (AI) welcomed massive opportunities in transforming aviation business operations amid the ongoing crisis. This technology in the airline industry has immensely aided companies in collecting data and forming a virtual assistance environment for queries, enhanced logistics operation, security, and self-services with highly augmented reality.

A market survey reveals that 97.2% of the aviation companies are installing big data and AI together. In fact, 76.5% of airline companies are gaining the value of data collection with the help of big data and AI. Source: resources.vistair.com

AI is also being set up in terms of safety improvement initiatives and potential safety issues. In this case, Southwest Airlines partnered with NASA to build an automated system capable of preventing potential threats and breaches by using machine-learning algorithms.


Green Technology

Green technology is one of the upcoming trends in the airline industry in the next five years. The prediction is it will make novel changes in the airline industry from various directions like the workforce, shares, stakeholders, and governments.

In the green tech concept, it is the generational shift and advancement that may head the change using new tools. These would bring in notable opportunities beyond 2021.

If you observe, the pandemic has driven the agenda of sustainability in terms of climatic conditions. And you will be surprised to know that aviation has already put up a serious concern in its fossil fuel usage by 2035. Even aircraft manufacturers have begun their journey with green technology.

To clarify this, the main objective of sustainable development for the coming years is decarbonization and green technology investment. 

Aviation companies like Japan Airlines and IAG are investing to bring net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, and by 2045, they aim to achieve carbon neutrality. And these, of course, are happening quickly due to digitalization.


Expecting a Sustainable ‘DIGI-TECH’ Future

As the pandemic brought downturn and slowdown in the airline industry, they have prioritized investing in digital by recognizing its importance and the optimum necessity. It is because it will be one of the significant ways for you to bring customers back and show your potential to endeavor services in a changing industry landscape.

So, technology and digital together must be supported that respects businesses’ need to invest in multiple areas of functionality. On the other side, revenue management goals also need to be focused on to gain success among competitors. And following the path of trending digital platforms will make you victorious over revenue management performance objectives. In this way, you will be in the skin of the game and would observe your company rising through the challenges over the coming years.


Frequently Asked Questions


What are the topmost technologies that will define aviation beyond 2021?

The technologies—3D printing in manufacturing, automation, and robotics are the topmost that will define how the aviation industry will be beyond 2021.


How is technology being used in aviation?

Airline operators use technology to market their services and products, advancing their software to leverage functionalities like biometrics, automation, cybersecurity, AI, big data, and more. Also, technology is being used to make safer airport operations like touchless checks to make safe for passengers.


Will the aviation industry overcome challenges?

Up until now, globally, the aviation industry is maintaining positive growth, despite prevailing challenges due to COVID-19. Technologically, it seems that the industry will foster slowly and gradually. Yet, there is sluggish growth economically due to high jet fuel prices.

Spotlight

Heathrow

Heathrow is the UK’s only hub airport. Around 70 million people pass through our terminals every year. 190,000 every day flying in and out of 90 different countries. We serve 86 airlines including the national carriers British Airways and Virgin Atlantic. Right in the heart of the business world. A huge part of the UK economy, on the doorstep of London one of the world’s most vibrant cities.

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