The International Air Transport Association (IATA) forecasts that there will be 7.3 billion airline passengers by 2034, representing a 4.1% average annual growth over the next two decades. Interestingly, a bulk of that traffic will come from developing markets such as Africa, South America, and especially Asia, with China on track to dethrone the U.S. as the largest passenger market by 2030. As IATA Director General Tony Taylor boldly predicted: “The first century of air travel has seen about 65 billion passengers take to the sky. The next 65 billion will fly in just the next 20 years”
Growth in Pilot Demand in Southeast Asia and Beyond
Airlines are increasing their crew to meet the growing demand for air travel.
As air travel becomes more mainstream, airlines will continue expanding their fleets to accommodate the passenger influx. This in turn provides golden opportunities to those who want to enter the aviation industry. In the Asia Pacific region alone, Boeing predicts that 226,000 new pilots will be needed, while another 332,000 will be required by airlines in the rest of the world.
Fast, Sustainable Aircrafts
The drastic increase in flight frequency and aircraft numbers will also have a corresponding environmental impact. To address this, carriers are investing in modified aircraft designs like the Airbus A350-900 that utilizes lighter, innovative materials to decrease weight and fuel consumption. The increased fuel efficiency also means fewer connecting flights as fuel pit stops will be kept to a minimum.
Return of Supersonic Flights?
When Concorde closed down its business in 2003, it heralded the end of trans-Atlantic flights that took only three and a half hours. However, Aerion—a Nevada-based supersonic engineering company—has partnered with Airbus to develop the AS2 Supersonic Business Jet by 2019. The small aircraft can ferry 18-20 people at Mach 1.5 speeds, allowing for considerably faster travel around the globe. If proven successful, it’s not unlikely that other airlines will follow suit and offer their own commercial supersonic flights.
Outer Space Tourism
Aviation doesn’t just mean navigating the skies; it can also mean exploring outer space. In the near future, “spacelines” like Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic and Jeff Bezo’s Blue Origin will signal the advent of outer space tourism by drastically lowering the cost of launching aircrafts beyond the Earth’s atmosphere. More importantly, these projects will help democratize space travel by making it accessible even to those who are not trained astronauts.
On-demand Private Aviation: Boon or Bane?
Ride-sharing services like Uber have revolutionized transportation, offering commuters more reliable and affordable ways to get around. Now, start-ups like Ubair (inspired by the former) are adapting that business model to the aviation industry—which may be a good or bad thing, depending on how you look at it. On the one hand, it decentralizes job opportunities from airlines, giving aspiring pilots more chances to enter the aviation industry. On the other, it might tempt experienced pilots to relinquish their airline jobs in the hopes of finding greener pastures.
Aviation has evolved by leaps and bounds since man first took flight, and it will only continue developing in the years to come. Hence, keeping abreast of the latest developments is imperative to stay ahead of the curve. To get the most advanced flight training and secure a bright future in aviation, visit: aag.aero.
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