Article | July 15, 2022
There’s been a lot of talk lately about airlines around the world beginning to favor smaller aircraft. Not just amid the pandemic but for the foreseeable future as well. The debate was given fuel when Lufthansa’s CEO made comments about potential down-gauging of its fleet ahead. But have we really entered the era of smaller airplanes for good?
Many have argued that even when demand for air travel does return there will be less of it overall because of a precipitous and permanent drop in business travel. And beyond that, even where demand does exist, it will be for convenient, point-to-point service, not on A380s via big hubs – as smaller planes emerge that are capable of flying farther and people shy away from big, crowded airports and the hassle of connecting. All of which calls for smaller planes. I’ve argued recently that this seems a little hasty. Nevertheless, the jury is out, and as they say – only time will tell.
Have smaller planes taken over flying?
One thing we can look at is whether the notion that smaller planes rule the day holds true at major airlines right now. And pulling some Flightradar24 data we can see that this has been happening – mostly. The headline takeaway seems to be that bigger planes do still have their place, but for obvious reasons smaller wide-bodies have proven more desirable on many global routes during the past year.
Lufthansa dropped its Very Large Aircraft quickly
If we look at Lufthansa’s data, the trend is very clear right from the beginning of the pandemic. The A380 and the 747s (both -400 and -8I) took a definitive hit beginning in March 2020. That was it for the A380 and the 747-400 for good, it seems. The small rebound in A380 flights recorded in recent months were storage-related. And since the pandemic started, it’s clear that the smaller A330 has been clearly favored, taking up nearly double the percentage of flying it had at Lufthansa pre-pandemic.
What’s most interesting here is that the 747-8I did come back, in some weeks to pre-pandemic levels. That’s quite a big plane. It is probably hard to fill these days. But it is Lufthansa’s flagship now – it has a First Class cabin and it can carry quite a bit of cargo. As a result it kept flying for a while on the bigger US routes like LAX. However recent dips in demand, and the winter season, saw the smaller and more fuel-efficient A350 come in to replace it on many routes. As I write this the Lufthansa 747-8I is in flight on just two routes – Mexico City (MEX) and Buenos Aires (EZE) to Frankfurt (FRA).
If I were to take a guess, I’d say we continue to see the 747-8I for some time on these bigger routes and in busier seasons. It may turn out to be one of the last options for passengers to fly a 747 a few years from now. Eventually, though, the more efficient 777X will replace it. Though Lufthansa has said it’s looking to shift to smaller airplanes overall, the 777X seems a natural fit for its big hub to hub routes. I don’t think we’ll see a day when the A350 is the largest plane in Lufthansa’s fleet – at least as long as Germany remains Europe’s largest economy.
Delta favors smaller, but only by a little bit
If we look at Delta, which also has a wide range of wide-bodies in its fleet, the picture is a little more complicated. In part that’s because initially its 777s and A350s (both of which fit about 300 seats) took over quite a lot of flying while its smaller 767s (200 to 240 seats or so) were more or less parked.
Since then, however, the 777 fleet has been retired and the 767s (both -300 and -400 series) have been doing nearly 60% of Delta’s wide-body flying. And its smallest Airbus wide-body, the A330-200, has flown much less throughout the pandemic. The A330-300, A330-900neo and A350-900 have filled in the rest of the flying, but while they were doing a majority of the wide-body flying in the first months, they’re not back to flying roughly the same percentage of Delta’s wide-body flights as before the pandemic.
It’s interesting to note that a number of 767s have been retired during this time, and A330-300s have been used to fill the gaps where necessary despite having a higher seat count. If no 767s had been retired it’s likely the total percentage of flights run with the 767 would be even higher.
What’s the bottom line?
It seems that airlines have tended to park their biggest planes, but perhaps not as drastically as some might have expected. That may have had a lot to do with cargo capacity. But cargo capacity will continue to be a consideration post-pandemic as well, so it’s not as if these planes will prove useless once things get back to normal. And if we see the boom in travel demand that some are predicting is on the way, many of these larger aircraft may see they get plenty of use yet.
Will there be less very large aircraft in airline fleets overall? Yes, probably. The A380 is all but done for except at a handful of airlines. And will smaller, long-range planes like the 787 prove popular in the years ahead? No doubt. But the bigger, fuel efficient planes like the 777X and A350-1000 will almost certainly still have their place in the sky too.
Defense and Space
Article | June 8, 2022
A New System That Aims to Create Carbon-Neutral Aviation
Scientists have achieved an amazing breakthrough in the development of carbon-neutral fuel for the aviation industry. An aviation fuel production system that uses water, sunlight, and carbon dioxide has been put into action. Its design was published on July 20th, 2022, in the journal Joule. The dream of achieving carbon-free aviation could become a reality with this development.
“We are the first to demonstrate the entire thermochemical process chain from water and CO2 to kerosene in a fully-integrated solar tower system.” - Aldo Steinfeld, Professor, Study Corresponding Author, ETH Zurich
The aviation industry accounts for approximately 5% of the global anthropogenic emissions that contribute to global climate change. The industry heavily relies on kerosene, commonly known as jet fuel, a liquid hydrocarbon fuel derived from crude oil. There are no clean options to power commercial flights on a global scale at the moment.
Production of Synthetic Kerosene
This breakthrough, with the help of solar energy, makes it possible to produce synthetic kerosene from water and carbon dioxide instead of crude oil. The amount of CO2 emitted during kerosene combustion in a jet engine equals what is consumed during its production in the solar plant. It is what makes the fuel carbon neutral, especially if the CO2 in the air is captured and directly used as an ingredient, which could be possible in the near future.
As part of the European Union's SUN-to-LIQUID project, Steinfeld and his colleagues put forward a system that uses solar power to generate drop-in fuels—synthetic alternatives to fossil-derived fuels like kerosene and diesel. Solar-produced kerosene is consistent with the current aviation infrastructure for allocation, fuel storage, and use in jet engines. It can also combine with fossil-derived kerosene, according to Steinfeld.
High Hopes for the Future
Steinfeld and his team began scaling the construction of a solar fuel manufacturing plant at the IMDEA Energy Institute in Spain half a decade ago. The plant has 169 sun-tracking reflective panels that redirect and concentrate solar radiation into a tower-mounted solar reactor. This concentrated solar energy then powers redox reaction cycles in the reactor’s porous ceria structure, which is not absorbed but can be reused. It transforms the water and carbon dioxide into syngas, a customized mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. This syngas is then injected into a gas-to-liquid converter and is finally converted into liquid hydrocarbon fuels such as kerosene and diesel. Steinfeld and his team are working on amping up the reactor’s efficiency from the current 4% to more than 15%.
Article | July 26, 2022
Failure is beneficial for many reasons. But important is to manage and survive the onslaught of errors. With respect to bold attempts like adopting a new strategy, making judgments about the market, bad publicity, launching new products or services, and more like these often make airline marketers discourage due to a little or huge foul.
The list also includes branding. Airline branding mistakes are often seen when businesses try either to aim to re-position in the market or create awareness among customers. If you are making branding mistakes, then remember that a combination of poor communication and ineffective brand planning causes one of the worst branding disasters!
Aviation Branding Mistakes of All-Time
Branding any airline company is challenging. When bad decisions about branding strategies happen, it costs huge to businesses. And most of the aviation businesses do it habitually. On this note, mistakes could happen in various ways. But some aviation branding mistakes shouldn’t be ignored at all. Mistakes can hurt your business hard. So, let’s highlight the common mistakes that can happen while branding for aviation and how you should avoid them.
Implementation of Rigid Strategies
Implementation of rigid branding strategies for aviation results in economic slumps
Airlines need flexible marketing strategies to control the cost of labor and acquisition in order to balance the brand image.
-Lauda, Marketing-In-Chief, Southwest Airlines
While any significant shift in airline business strategy, like the pandemic forced, usually takes two to three years to implement. Therefore, you should design branding strategies that could afford the room for adjustments. In addition, those strategies will revive your older market position. Failing to do so could lead your airline company’s image to suffer a massive loss.
So, what can you do ahead?
Implement unique branding strategies for aviation to strengthen the value of your company. For this, you need to work and pay attention constantly to existing and potential customers you deal with. By understanding their perspective, marketers will be able to bring uniqueness to strategies. Following this process will ease you to adjust and cope up with the current economic condition.
The entire aviation industry is going digitalized, especially after the pandemic fall. SEO is one of the most significant areas of digital marketing. So, if you do not master SEO, you are lagging behind competitors in branding for aviation. Your target audience/existing audience should never find difficulty in discovering your brand. This is the only rule of conducting tested SEO practices. It is because overlooking SEO means your customers are gone.
So, here’s what to do instead.
Try to find out what keywords are becoming relevant every day. Keep a watch at what keywords your competitors include to rank their brand name. Check relevant keywords for your brand message. Also, make sure about the trending keywords and how they are being searched. After you have mastered this metric, create branding strategies that are fit for your company.
A Disconnect with Audience
Failing to connect with an audience is the most significant mistake. Conducting inappropriate research on target audiences makes it hard to know how to connect with them. To understand it, you will have to think creatively and strategically simultaneously. For that, your team should create the best marketing design materials to attract a wide net of customers.
What can you do more?
While you connect with customers, an innovative perspective on your upcoming plans should be out of the box. Thinking in this way will help to reveal the gaps, problems, and undiscovered opportunities to make your brand better. Also, you will get deep insights about customers by directly reaching out through social media. You can use forums, email campaigns, loyalty programs, and other ways to connect.
If you overcome this mistake, you will be able to connect with your potential customers. To have your criteria is essential. And then, you would be surprised to know how enthused some customers will be about a glimpse into the potential future of a product or service they will gain from your company.
Becoming too Generic
Coming across too generic ideas of branding for aviation will give a bad impression on your airline company. So, what constitutes this aviation branding mistake? Let’s know here
• Depending on stock imagery
• Forgetting on your core branding elements—for example, using a generic logo
• Having a similar brand name as competitors’
• Offering a similar product/service similar as competitors’
• Usage of non-specific/non-industrial terms in marketing materials
These points mean that the more generic your brand will showcase, the less unique you appear to the audience. A generic brand reflects being unprofessional, slapdash, or uninteresting. It’s clear—who would want to buy products or services from.
What should you do instead?
If you can offer a better or different picture of your airline brand, do it, even if you have to raise your budget. Connect a great designer and take full advantage of their experience.
Your designer can help with much more than the standards of the branding work. Do some market research for brand promotion/positioning strategies to understand deeper. By doing so, you can leverage the complete value expertise and implement it in your branding techniques.
Branding is One-time Action
The action of branding in one time only is an old-school industry policy of aviation. Today is the era of digitalization, where still many existing aviation companies are practicing this approach. If your company falls in this category, then hold on and restrict it now. This is the time when your airline company needs a tangible branding suite, humanization approach. It should also include the defined message, value, logo, and other elements. However, the work doesn’t stop with these elements. The fact is, branding is an endless process.
So, what do you need to do?
You need to work diligently by keeping a very sharp razor focus on every effort associated with the branding process. So that you can continue to carve your company’s position in the market and stand out. Also, this will help your company stand out in customers’ minds. And hence, this will automatically strengthen your brand.
Putting Branding Responsibilities on One Department
Branding efforts are not only reserved for the marketing department. Instead, it should involve efforts along across departmental actions as well.
There could be multi-departmental knowledge that could save you from poor branding. Might your marketing team’s efforts like the design or PR do not necessarily work perfectly. It's also possible that they ideate a similar design repeatedly. And you may be unknowingly making significant aviation branding mistakes. Those mistakes must have damaged the credibility of the strategies and the motive. A lot of companies work for branding only with the marketing team. That is why they lack in many other parts of branding. If you have a similar working process in your company, you need to think again!
So, how to go ahead?
To create an effective aviation branding, involve the sales, customer service, IT, networking, data analyst department on board. By collaborating with them, you can initiate many efforts to create purposeful solutions for audiences. Even the representatives of each department can involve and create target-proof branding strategies for aviation.
Devaluing the importance of social media
Devaluing the power of social media has been one of the most common and costly aviation branding mistakes businesses are making. From being active on it to acting on the audience’s activities has a lot of differences in-between. Many companies listen, but they don’t hear. The problem is they don’t show to their audiences. And thus, results in disconnection among audiences.
So, what can you do instead?
In the current time, the travel market is now more fragmented with the continuous shifting behavior of travelers. In this case, social media’s role is becoming significant. It’s one platform where you can obtain feedback by creating polls, communicating, and engaging with marketing tricks. It's a free and paid platform. You have every reason to take advantage of it to showcase your company and brand message to a wide net of audiences. Doing it regularly—keeping your content relevant and updated- will make your brand image evergreen.
Save your Airline Company with Branding Bloopers
Now you must have gained some insights on how to avoid branding mistakes. So, it's time to bid farewell to branding mistakes. Remember that consumers, context, and quality design should be at the forefront of your mind when you begin with branding planning. It’s crucial to hone on the right branding strategy because it’s an important way to position your aviation company in the market.
The airline business is the biggest team sport in the world. When you are all consumed with fighting among yourselves, your opponents can run over you every day.
– By Gordon Bethune Former CEO of Continental Airlines
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the other airline branding mistakes businesses usually make?
Mistakes happen every day in airline businesses. But some common mistakes can cost a huge to a business. Here are some more airline mistakes:
• Aviation businesses tend to implement competitors’ tactics that become entirely different from their original business structure or current and future plans of action.
• Businesses do not think of investing in an aviation advertising agency.
• Usually forgets the purpose behind the brand creation.
• Create fake brand values
What should airline businesses avoid in brand planning?
While creating a brand, the airline businesses should avoid the following things:
• Underestimating your customers
• Untracking your marketing efforts
• Unwilling to invest
• Broad targeting
• Lack of USP
• Lack of research
What do airline customers want from airline businesses?
Airline customers are broad. They look for a wide array of services and products. So, your customer will always want some basic yet valuable things like committed customer service and satisfaction, easy approachability, content to understand solutions, and easy ways to invest.
"name": "What are the other airline branding mistakes businesses usually make?",
"text": "Mistakes happen every day in airline businesses. But some common mistakes can cost a huge to a business. Here are some more airline mistakes:
Aviation businesses tend to implement competitors’ tactics that become entirely different from their original business structure or current and future plans of action.
Businesses do not think of investing in an aviation advertising agency.
Usually forgets the purpose behind the brand creation.
Create fake brand values"
"name": "What should airline businesses avoid in brand planning?",
"text": "While creating a brand, the airline businesses should avoid the following things:
Underestimating your customers
Untracking your marketing efforts
Unwilling to invest
Lack of USP
Lack of research"
"name": "What do airline customers want from airline businesses?",
"text": "Airline customers are broad. They look for a wide array of services and products. So, your customer will always want some basic yet valuable things like committed customer service and satisfaction, easy approachability, content to understand solutions, and easy ways to invest."
Article | October 27, 2021
The COVID-19 effect has been tendered on business aviation than commercial aviation. However, it is the operations that reported a surge in demand for business aviation. The demand has been witnessed from new businesses and and those who revamped their operations amid travel restrictions.
In 2020, the airline industry experienced a heavy loss of worth USD252 billion, reports IATA. The industry players were at risk, which included accounting with direct economic destruction. Prompted by other risks factors such as restrictions on movements, especially travel limitations due to COVID-19, there is a serious need for the industry to access its operations competently.
So here are two crucial questions that took the heat. First, how is the industry going to manage economic uncertainties, travel restrictions, and market instability? And second, how may these affect aviation business conclusions in the coming years?
Such considerations may include some crucial aspects. They are changes in valuation methods, revision of future investments with existing liabilities, re-assessment of forecasted fuel consumption, revision of manufacturing, marketing, and others.
This blog is aimed at capturing the impact of COVID-19. And how business aviation can proceed to bridge gaps across multiple travel restrictions, both during and after the COVID-19 crisis. To delve into detail, let's go further.
The Level of Airline Business Drop and Recovery
Globally, the aviation businesses were severely harmed by 80% in 2020. The industry players found it extremely complex to navigate the commitments. Also, their work with collaborations is slated for the same year.
Customers seemed uninterested in discussing new business acquisitions due to COVID travel restrictions on business. However, some operators preyed on lower prices and increased demand for aviation services and products. These were mainly in the manufacturing and marketing fields. The reason is some corporate clients easily adapted to the emergence of digital platforms. They switched to zoom calls to replace personal contacts and connections.
Michael Walsh, CEO of Aer Mobi, says,
“OEMs have now announced a major drop in production capacity. Potential buyers could be from booming sectors financial services and online sales as they may seek to purchase high-profit products. These will be only a few brilliant spots for new aircraft purchases for OEMs.”
On the same note, Shaun Quigley, Managing Director, Volantair Air Charter, says
“In the time of crisis, the ability is to “pull one’s head in." This is what will happen at least until the final quarter of 2021.”
Business aviation in 2021 will hover around 25% to 30% globally, says Jose Rego, Senior Director – Market Intelligence and Strategy, Embraer Executive Jets. The rebound will be sluggish until 2025.
While the travel businesses' situation in the pandemic is not up to mark, its believed that digital transformation is viable to conduct airline operations. Such transformation will drive sales eventually following the rise of trending technologies simultaneously.
Aviation Business by 2030
A major transformation is promised by an array of powerful new technologies and corporate clients’ pressure. The industry plays that turn this trend to their advantage have the opportunity to redefine, restructure, reform, and reshape their business amid air travel restrictions.
So how will the key players of the aviation sector take their businesses forward by 2025 and beyond? Here is the outline of vital forces that the sector will see transforming.
Currently, airline operations maintenance accounts for approximately 20% of the operating costs. However, as the pandemic happened, market players and novel inventions are placing big hopes on the intelligent automation of maintenance.
For example, Airbus uses two seven-axis robots on the new fourth A320 line in Hamburg to conduct 80% of their business operations, thus improving functional aspects for employees.
Intelligent automation is fueled by terabytes of data. The data could be stored and used by businesses to manage operations easily. The addition of robotics and AI in aviation has increased the digitalization shift landscape for established players. From automatic scanning, data mining to improved diagnostics, robotics has a significant role in the future of aviation operations and maintenance.
Use of Alternative Sources of Energy
The shifting of environmental sentiments has made the aviation industry include greenhouse gases, electrofuels, hydrogen, and even batteries. The industry has set a target of cutting down high energy emitter fuels by half by 2030.
Companies like Airbus have impressive plans to develop hydrogen planes in the next 15 years. Even for eleven years, SkyNRG has been known for supplying "advanced waste" biofuels to airlines. These fuels are recycled from industrial waste, cooking oil, agricultural and forestry residues.
New technologies from engineering and manufacturing of aerodynamic are going to play a significant role in upcoming airline trends like specialized and improved designs and the use of carbon-efficient biofuels and electric
In this case, the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) research found out that around 5.5% of aviation fuel could come from sustainable origins by 2030. Basically, it would be primarily from advanced waste biofuels.
Aviation Business: Witnessing Some Hope
There is an anticipation that the established aviation businesses will pick up their pace by 2022 amid COVID 19 restrictions.
Interestingly, there has been a pick up in air travel (essential air travel) in a specific part of the world. However, in some Asian countries, travel activity is estimated to be less than 40%. But the travel demand is expected to be higher in the years ahead.
Aviation business operators expect expanded business with new criteria of sales—digital. They might witness growth due to new prospect acquisitions that have adopted the digital workforce. The businesses expect green shoots of growth in the travel industry. Especially from business travel classes as these are seeking to experience fly again.
Business aviation traffic in 2021 highlighted the growing interest from buyers. On this, Jose Rego, Senior Director – Market Intelligence and Strategy, Embraer Executive Jets elaborates,
“There may be a peripheral surge in demand from first-time buyers; I expect this to affect fractional sales initially.”
Therefore, now IATA estimates that governments globally will provide $160 billion in support, loans, and tax breaks so that airline businesses can cover current costs.
Safety is Priority, so is Business
The aviation industry acclaims that business aviation might be on track sooner. In this context, the presence of a qualified team and fast-track applications, software, and platforms could help operators to function in a safe and well-maintained way.
As the aviation industry continues to plan new air travel rules (essential), aviation business is at an optimum point. Its crucial role in supplies, sales, business development, and essential air travel services has redefined the face of business. Thus, in this way aviation business has paved the way to make a strong comeback in the coming years.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can future measures due to the pandemic suggest for the aviation industry?
Airline businesses must have a robust plan which establishes the core of business aviation. The future is for market leaders. How they will manage roles and responsibilities responding to the crisis. Finally, national authorities will have a crucial role in stimulating demand and fostering the rapid recovery of the airport business. Restoring consumer confidence will be an essential part of this effort.
What is the COVID-19 advice for the aviation industry?
The global market leaders are actively managing the impact of COVID-19 to ensure aviation safety and to support the industry’s return to normal safety assurance activities. They have put efforts on surveillance approach on every business operation to increase accuracy by introducing technologies.
"name": "What can future measures due to the pandemic suggest for the aviation industry?",
"text": "Airline businesses must have a robust plan which establishes the core of business aviation. The future is for market leaders. How they will manage roles and responsibilities responding to the crisis. Finally, national authorities will have a crucial role in stimulating demand and fostering the rapid recovery of the airport business. Restoring consumer confidence will be an essential part of this effort."
"name": "What is the COVID-19 advice for the aviation industry?",
"text": "The global market leaders are actively managing the impact of COVID-19 to ensure aviation safety and to support the industry’s return to normal safety assurance activities. They have put efforts on surveillance approach on every business operation to increase accuracy by introducing technologies."