Since the Wright brothers pioneered air travel back in 1903, things have moved along at a breakneck pace, but how is the aviation industry fairing right now in 2017? Here are a few key areas to focus on.
Now that the furore surrounding United Airlines has died down to some extent, you might actually be surprised to hear that there are plenty of other things happening in the industry. From the rise and fall of airlines to millennials excited about private jets and of course more drama surrounding Brexit, there’s a lot to know about aviation right now.
Norwegian Air and easyJet flourish, Monarch and Air Berlin not so much
With Ryanair not likely to be on anyone’s favourite list of companies right now due to thousands of cancelled and heavily delayed flights, travellers are looking elsewhere. Norwegian Air and easyJet’s numbers have boomed over the last few months, but while those airlines might be thriving, others haven’t fared so well. UK’s Monarch airline recently collapsed, with Brexit, terrorism, and the weak pound cited as reasons for the downfall. Germany’s Air Berlin will also cease trading imminently, with Lufthansa and easyJet expected to pick up large portions of the staff and airplanes.
Demand for private jets helped largely by millennials
As we’ve discussed, sometimes you just can’t rely on commercial airlines. To put your trust into an airline to get you somewhere on time can often be fruitless – flights get delayed or even cancelled on an annoyingly frequent basis. Taking a private jet might have been a literal flight of fancy for many at one point, but it appears that this corner of the industry has opened up to new clientele: millennials. Not just a demographic which sits around completing BuzzFeed quizzes and uploading pictures of their latest pumpkin spiced latte to Instagram, millennials are now regarded as a hugely important sector for the private jet industry.
An easier online booking process could well be to thank for this rise of the coveted 25-35 demographic searching for private jets, with new company JetApp among those who have sprung up lately to take advantage of the smartphone era that we now live in. For many, the thought that one could book a flight via a phone is far more tantalising than seeking the aid of a travel agent, that’s for sure.
Brexit could ruin flights already booked in 2019
It remains to be seen just what life will be like after Brexit, and this is no different for the aviation industry. Airlines in the UK are being transparent with passengers, stating that any bookings made after March 2019 cannot be guaranteed, and travel agency Thomas Cook has recently added a clause that says ‘it will not be liable to pay compensation’ in the event of cancelled flights. A spokesperson for Thomas Cook declared: ‘We are already selling holidays for the post-Brexit world, so we are preparing the business to operate in that environment. We do expect some form of agreement on aviation but we now need urgent clarity from government.’
Supersonic air travel coming back?
Despite the Concorde retiring in 2003, it seems we’re all still in love with the idea of supersonic planes. Although the Concorde could fly from London to New York in only 3.5 hours (compared to roughly eight hours on a normal flight), the aircraft declined in popularity due to expensive maintenance and fuel costs, as well as a horrific crash in 2000 that killed everyone on board. However, as we’ve seen with Elon Musk’s Hyperloop plan, people are fascinated by quicker transport, so it should come as no surprise that a new supersonic plane is in the works.
A company called Boom is claiming that it will produce a jet that is cheaper, faster, and far more sustainable and trustworthy than the Concorde ever was. Although there are investors interested, it will still be many years until we see even a test flight from Boom. Nevertheless, it will no doubt be incredibly exciting to see if people take to supersonic travel like they did in the 1970s. We wonder if the idea will take off.