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Undoubtedly, 2020 will be remembered as an ‘annus horribilis’ for the aviation industry. However, the future is full of opportunity - both known and unknown. We will take a dive into the potential future landscape across consolidation, hardware, airports, consumer preferences, demographics, technology, the environment and other factors that will impact the industry and our futures.
Aon’s David Barrett hosts this discussion alongside Simon Witts, founder and CEO, Aviation 360, Jeffrey C Lowe, managing director, Asian Sky Group & Asian Sky Media, Petter Hörnfeldt, founder of Mentour 360 SC and Lambros Lambrou, CEO, Aon’s Commercial Risk Solutions.
In this inspirational episode, the panel looks ahead to 2040 and predicts the world of aviation.
As an industry, aviation may be in a place of trauma right now. However, as our panel members discuss, it continues to be critical for the world's future.
This episode dives into the potential future landscape across consolidation, hardware, airports, consumer preferences, demographics, technology, the environment and other factors that will impact the industry and our futures.
Innovation Brings About a Reshaping of the Industry
The industry has seen phenomenal growth in the last 10 years. Yet there has been little application of ground-breaking innovation, save the advent of GPS and a better utilization of airspace.
Electrical aircraft and drone technology innovation are changing that. These are becoming financially viable and technologically mature enough to be used in a commercial setting. Operating within current regulations, they will be the catalyst for a huge shift in aviation and the shaping of its future.
Such developments will impact:
• The financing of, investment in and ownership of models of aircraft. Asia may start to adopt the more-advanced ownership models that are applied in Europe and the US, such as fractional ownership. It will seek out new opportunities for new owners and partners.
• Opening up new routes which are currently not viable as a commercial operation. Lighter, less fuel-hungry aircraft will mean routes require less traffic to make them commercially viable. This will open up (and re-open) new routes.
• Development of new customer or passenger segments. e-Taxis will appeal to new customer groups.
• Investment from outside of the aviation industry. New investors and innovators are likely to enter the aviation sector.
• Airports and infrastructure design. New technologies may not need the longer runway that some of the newer, larger planes have demanded. Investment in construction will take place as new infrastructure is built.
• The brand. Greener technology delivers more than environmental benefits; it protects its reputation and encourages investment.
Human Capital Challenge: Defining Future Jobs and Attracting Talent
The panel discusses how multiple new OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) are likely to emerge which design and build the hardware, requiring new skills and knowledge in these companies. Furthermore, more flights, routes and passengers will need to be supported by more people. Pilots, cabin crew and ground ops will be in demand - even though their roles may look different from present ones. New infrastructure will be built and serviced, and this will open up new opportunities for talent.
The challenge will be to define these future jobs and excite young people to develop these skills and consider aviation as a career. The education and training routes will need a shake-up. Also, the funding of this will need to be re-worked, especially pilot training. The perception of being a pilot may suffer in the short term – perceived to be a less secure profession to join. However, this will change. There will be two challenges: finding the right type of people to become pilots; and developing those organizations which will train them consistently to the high standards needed.
Expanding Markets Provide Opportunities
The currently less mature markets in Asia will open up to support the growing middle classes. Untapped and unserviced geographical areas will become opportunities for expansion thanks to the new technologies. The customer experience and whole airport experience is going to change over the next 20 years. There will be a focus on personalization and service, rather than price being the loyalty-winning activity.
There will be fundamental changes to business models in the aviation sector. The pandemic has highlighted the need for a rethink in a number of areas of insurance, such as the risks of non-damage business interruption and the risks associated with supply chains.
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