Current Issues Affecting Aviation Industry
Table of Contents
Nowadays it is difficult to imagine life without air travel. Aviation industry has progressed considerably since the invention of the airplane. It has evolved into irreplaceable means of travel dramatically changing the concept of distance, providing a possibility to visit the places once considered remote. First commercial airplanes started flying in Europe after the World War II; however, military aviation has been developing earlier in terms of design and technologies. The fact that the aviation industry exists in highly competitive market implies that new challenges constantly appear on the horizon. The modern issues faced by this sector include complete safety and security, which are invisible to the passengers, bur ensure making their overall experience of spending time in the airport and on the flight as comfortable as possible. Environmental concerns are also among the challenges of the aviation industry as propelling the airplane requires burning fuels. Apart from that, the market share of low-cost carriers increases thus challenging financial profitability and setting the new benchmarks in terms of economic feasibility. This trend requires a new way to lower the cost of handling the flight services in the airports so that the industry still can remain profitable. The scope of challenges described above is defined by the needs of the modern society and sets the course for the future development of the aviation industry.
Safety and Security
Safety and security are considered the most crucial challenges of the industry even though statistically air journeys are extremely safe if compared to other ways of travelling. In the rise of the aviation industry, it was quite risky; however, from the very start, safety was hold as a top priority and huge efforts were performed to make flying as safe as possible.
As per the 2013 data, only 16 out of 36.4 million flights were fatal. The chances of being involved in an accident on the plane were estimated as one in 2.4 million. Thus, getting from A to B by plane is basically the safest way (Shankman, 2014). However, taking into consideration the fast growth of the industry fostered by the increasing demand for air travels, the current security measures may become not sufficient for preventing the possibility of global terrorist attacks or the spread of the contagious diseases. This would require establishing new ways to provide enhanced security with keeping up high levels of service and comfort for the passengers so that these increased security measures stay invisible in special cases when they are required (WSP, 2016).
Modern technologies are also used for maintaining security as they provide the possibility to track the aircraft more accurately and receive better access to information for operations over conflict zones. In addition, the data security is vital for the aviation as huge amount of information is generated by every flight, like safety audits and reporting programs. Aircraft manufacturers also have important information for safety, and all this should not be disclosed. Aimed at reaching the new level of data protection, Global Aviation Data Management base is built and developed (The International Air Transport Association, 2017).
Positive customer experience is a key factor in driving more passengers to use an airline and choose an airport as the layover points; thus, this is another huge challenge for the industry. This can be achieved by the principal change of viewing a passenger who becomes not just a monitored item processed by the airport operators but a customer who comes through the airport experience with comfort and pleasure and without the feeling that the waiting time is being lost.
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The majority of European and Asian airports develop really fast in this direction, and the changes implemented are visible in their development. However, a lot of North American airports still lag behind in providing additional comfort and services to the passengers, like short-stay hotels, good restaurants, shops, beauty salons, etc. This is something that modern people value and that improves the passenger experience greatly (WSP, 2016).
It is very important that the passengers are able to spend their time in the airport productively, which can be achieved only if proper innovations are implemented on the whole way of the transition from land to air and back. This experience also influences how much time people are inclined to spend in the airport and how much money they will spend there, thus investing into the future of the industry. This can be achieved through technical modernization of the facilities, improving the quality of food and beverage offerings as well as providing luxury brand shops and a wider range of services available. The more innovative and comfortable place an airport becomes, the higher value is given to it as to evolution from the transition hub to the proper business meeting place, for example (PROS, n.d.).
The safe and comfortable experience of actual flying is vital too. In this respect, the situation can be improved by providing a huge range of choices and services onboard starting from basic safety measures and ending the availability of some luxury experiences. Therefore, the passengers will feel less frustration connected with the need to spend some time in the cabin in the sky (Shankman, 2014).
Aviation industry is in the process of constant development and expansion, which requires more and more resources. The more airplanes are used to transit the passengers, the more fuel has to be burned increasing the level of the carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. Thus, staying environmentally friendly is one of the key challenges faced by the aviation industry nowadays. Some steps are taken in the direction of development of biofuels. Around 1,500 commercial flights have been launched using biofuel, and this number continues growing. However, these biofuels are scarce due to being expensive; lower price can be achieved only by higher demand for its production. Another alternative is to use the renewable sources of energy, like solar power, which is relatively cheap to generate and does not threat the environmental safety. While these ways of lowering the pollution of the atmosphere are still in development, some optimization has to be done at the moment as the environmental situation is still threated. It is achieved through optimization and changes in the infrastructure and operations. An example of this can be the change of the landing trajectory of the aircrafts so that it becomes shorter, an airplane does not have to circle above the airport, it lands faster, and amounts of fuel burned and emissions are lowered (Shankman, 2014).
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Historically, from the very beginning of its establishment, the aviation industry has been profitable. However, now taking into consideration the growing trend of shift to the low-cost model of operation and high prices for fuel, financial profitability becomes another point to be considered as one of the top priorities. Airlines are involved into very tough and competitive business nowadays, and they need to shift the focus of money distribution across all the sectors inside the industry. Such things like safety and passengers comfort cannot be compromised; however, some services can be sacrificed for making the air travel less expensive for both a passenger and an airline. Continuing strong demand for passengers, even despite the difficult economic situation, shows that low-cost model is becoming very popular, and this is the future of the aviation industry (Shankman, 2014). Additionally, the development of the air travel is a great facilitator of the global economy growth as it connects the marketplaces worldwide and solves the task of connecting businesses. This sector can also be developed for driving more passengers of the business class who are willing to spend huge amounts of money to ensure the high level of air travel comfort in their frequent business trips.
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The aviation industry faces a number of challenges in its development. They range from financial to environmental and are crucial for keeping the industry popular and profitable. Some issues like safety and security are solved quite successfully making air travel the safest way to get from A to B. However, much still has to be done to keep the situation under control. The increasing number of low-cost airlines sets the industry into high competition. It also requires working hard to provide the high level of comfort for the passengers in the airports and on the airplanes, which include additional services, shopping possibilities, good restaurants and beauty salons available on the airport territory. Environmental concerns are among top issues for the entire humanity and the aviation industry is not an exception. A lot is done to increase the share of biofuels used by the commercial airlines to lower the level of harmful emissions into the atmosphere. Also, the possibility of using renewable sources of energy is being investigated. The last but not the least is the challenge to balance between staying profitable and providing decent service to the passengers at reasonable price. This is achieved by developing the low-cost airline model and investing into business class sector as well. All the above-mentioned challenges are defined by the needs of the modern society and the trend for the industry development.