The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the aviation industry. With losses of £269billion and 37,104 job losses, the industry is facing its worst financial crisis since the 9/11 attacks.
Aviation professionals, travellers, and entrepreneurs alike are wondering what the future will look like for the aviation industry.
From new business opportunities to technological advances, we look at four areas of the industry and what they will look like after COVID-19.
There Will be Many New Airlines
With UK passenger traffic down by 75% in 2020, it would seem counterintuitive for new airlines to launch in 2021. However, entrepreneurs have shown considerable interest within the aviation sector.
Firstly, the overall costs of running an airline has fallen drastically. Secondly, aircraft manufacturers (including Boeing and Airbus) are offering aircraft at discounted rates. And thirdly, entrepreneurs have a wealth of experienced aviation talent to join them, who have been furloughed or made redundant since the pandemic began.
As a result, 2021 will see the launch of many new airlines start-ups. This is good news for job seekers within this sector. To those looking for new job opportunities, it will be worth following these airline start-ups. Some of them include flyPOP, Play, and Flyr.
Online Check-in and Self-Check in Will Become the Norm
Passengers are approaching air travel with greater caution than ever before. This goes beyond the use of face masks and hand sanitiser.
Habits have changed considerably, with travellers being more cautious of crowded spaces and queues. It is expected this level of awareness will remain for a long time; even after the pandemic has ended.
With this heightened state of alert, passengers are looking to technology to avoid long waiting periods where large groups of people are present.
Airlines and airports have already started putting more emphasis on online check-in technology to ease insecure travellers, and it is expected this will be the norm very soon.
There Will be a Greater Emphasis on Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF)
With less airplanes in the air, the aviation and energy industries shifted their efforts towards, certainly continuity, but also sustainability. Specifically, Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).
SAFs are produced from sustainable feedstocks and have lower carbon emissions compared to traditional, fossil-based jet fuel. They are part of a longer-term plan to reduce the impact air travel has on the environment.
With the recent corporate shift towards developing SAFS, it appears strides are taking place in their production and use. Gulf Air started using sustainable aviation fuel in March this year 2021; Oil giants Total started producing SAF in April in France; and Bristol-based company CentreLine Aviation have signed a deal with Air BP to become the UKs first non-network retailer of SAF.
There have been discussions over the last few years regarding SAFs’ place in the industry’s future. With these recent developments, it looks like SAFs future in aviation has solidified.
Fuel Efficient Aircraft Will Take a Backseat
Sustainability is a hot topic in the aviation industry right now. The above-mentioned sustainable aviation fuels are part of many conversations regarding decarbonisation and environmentally friendly air travel (which included the recent formation of the UK government partnership JetZero).
Fuel is one place to start. But what about aircraft manufacturers? Are they developing environmentally friendly, fuel-efficient aircraft?
The answer is yes. In fact, Wizz Air recently unveiled their more efficient A321neo fleet, which Airbus developed in recent years.
However, with the decrease in air travel and the revenue it generates, aircraft manufacturers are expected to delay the development of more fuel-efficient passenger aircraft.
So, it might be some time before older, less fuel-efficient aircraft is decommissioned to make way for innovative, environmentally conscious transport.
The aviation industry, despite all that is happening, is fighting and progressing. And it appears the future is brighter, greener, with more job and business opportunities; packaged with an emphasis on sustainability. But the reality of it all is the industry largely relies on one thing – passengers.
Lockdown restrictions in the UK are easing and holiday markers are craving a holiday in the sun. But with a wariness of the virus, it will be some time before passengers can fly with confidence once again.
The COVID-19 pandemic has not just altered the aviation industry within the last year. It has altered it forever.
Article submitted by EBC Global.
The opinions expressed in this article are based on EBC Global’s knowledge of the aviation industry and research conducted in recent months.
EBC Global are a background check and vetting software company based in the UK. Originally starting out as Avisoftware, we have worked with aviation companies over the last ten years; providing software to ensure compliance, efficiency and increased productivity in regard to background checks. Visit here for more information.