The growth of the Global Airline Industry: The Market is Back
Since the pandemic hit in 2020, many sectors have been struggling to get back to normality. The airline industry has been no different, but the good news is that the market is gaining some steady traction and is closer to reaching pre-pandemic levels. The sector is now looking towards future growth with new technologies and sustainability in mind. There is currently a focus on investing in new fleets and hiring new pilots with the right skills and training to meet the evolving demand of customers, digital developments and even the environment.
Major airlines are investing in new and modern fleets
Many of the leading airlines worldwide are starting to invest in new fleets. This is mainly because they need to comply with the pledges made to meet the UN’s guidelines for net-zero carbon emissions (as stated at the 41st assembly held on the 7th of October 2022). With this in mind, it’s time for next-generation aircraft technologies to step into the airline industry with an initial target of adopting cleaner, more sustainable low-carbon aviation fuel, known as SAF. Here is a look at what just two of the UK’s major airlines are doing:
According to EasyJet.com, the company is making a multi-million-pound investment fleet-wide to implement the latest aircraft software for short-term carbon emission reductions that will have a lasting impact. Right now, the Airbus NEO aircraft is the latest fleet addition, as it is around 15% more fuel efficient than many of the current aircraft in use.
Industry giant British Airways has been investing in new fleets comprising A350s, B787s, A320 and A321 Neos to replace the Boeing 747s that have made the airline famous. Its parent company, International Airlines Group (IAG), has so far put around £865 million into purchasing SAF solutions and investments to support its sustainability efforts.
The technological evolution of the global airline industry
To stay up to date and keep the airline industry moving forward, there simply has to be the widespread implementation of new technologies. Without branching out into digital assistance in a host of areas, the industry is likely to fall behind. Here is a closer look at some of the emerging tech that is beginning to overhaul important processes.
AI and Machine Learning (ML)
Artificial intelligence is becoming increasingly crucial in several sectors across the world and it performs particularly well when automating processes and streamlining functions. Machine Learning (ML) technologies are being used in the airline industry to gather information and gain insights from specific flight data to optimise routes, provide detailed weather forecasting and survey global flight operations. This can provide an additional level of safety and improve in-flight decision-making.
New software applications for a paperless environment
With a shift in environmental consciousness, reducing paper waste has become necessary. As processes within cockpits, control towers and even the runway can require an extensive amount of paperwork, more and more airlines have been replacing briefings and more with digital solutions including tablets and mobile apps that can convey the same information. An added benefit is that factors like weather updates can be created, shared and read in real time for safer, more accurate access to vital data.
Many planes are now being equipped with heads-up displays to help pilots keep on top of what’s happening both inside and outside the cockpit. Speed and navigation information is portrayed either via LED or laser-based projection alongside a synthetic, digital view of the outside world.
Enhanced training simulations
Flight simulators are not a new technology in the fight industry, but advancements in virtual reality are making them more functional and realistic than ever before. Physical simulators can now collect and report data throughout training programs, to provide better analysis of normal and abnormal testing situations for those working with trainee pilots.
Strong pilot demand
The increase in technology has already begun to affect pilot demand and how they need to be trained to work with new and upcoming industry technologies. In a general sense, the process of flying a plane will become safer, easier and more efficient, but for those already established in the industry, it could mean that additional training will become necessary.
Flight schools will need to upgrade to more specialised training protocols to remain competitive and provide the right skills and knowledge to their students, therefore sophisticated pilot academy programs can help. This will increase entry into quality job positions, as a change in operations and infrastructure is also likely to occur.
Boeing has predicted a need for 602,000 new commercial pilots worldwide in their most recent annual Pilot and Technician Outlook. The numbers look like this:
- Africa: 20,000
- China: 126,000
- Europe: 122,000
- Latin America: 35,000
- Middle East: 53,000
- North America: 128,000
- Northeast Asia: 22,000
- Oceana: 9,000
- South Asia: 37,000
- Southeast Asia: 50,000
The good news is that flight schools like Egnatia Aviation are shaping the pilots of tomorrow today, helping to fill the pilot demand gap, with outstanding training facilities and an array of training courses that are led by skilled instructors with an unrivalled level of expertise.
Collaboration of airlines with the flight training providers
It can be especially important for airlines to collaborate with credible and trustworthy flight schools to improve their corporate image and ensure that new recruits are highly trained and ready to take on the challenges of flying for commercial operations. There is a certain level of professionalism necessary for pilots, therefore flight schools shall teach the correct standards to meet the requirements of a host of airlines. You can find out more here.
In recent years, as the focus has shifted towards employing a younger and more diverse generation of aviators, airlines are looking for a wider talent pool of new recruits to create and cultivate an inclusive working environment. With this in mind, airlines can benefit from Ab-Initio Training as they will get to know their new employees on a deeper level.
In the recent 20th European Airline Training Symposium, which is Europe’s largest aviation training event, Egnatia Aviation Head Of Training, Captain Hugues Carpentier, delivered a keynote speech regarding the importance of the airlines’ involvement in Ab-Initio Training. In his presentation, Captain Carpentier outlined the benefits for the airlines in getting involved actively in cadet selection and basic training. He also highlighted that the industry is moving forward from the previous 50% rejection rate of low-experience commercial pilots, emphasising the more strategic choices regarding the criteria of becoming a professional airline pilot.
Furthermore, both Airlines and ATOs will benefit, as long as they overcome the existing barriers, such as:
- the difference in the objectives between ATOs (EASA learning objectives) and the airline industry needs,
- the lack of follow-up by ATOs when the audit requirements are announced,
- and the 7,000 unemployable pilots in Europe.
Egnatia Aviation on the frontline
Connectivity can be key when bringing new recruits into the airline industry. Egnatia Aviation is not only internationally recognised but aims to create worthwhile collaborations. The renowned flight school participates in conferences and globally recognised workshops to present top opportunities to both its students and the airlines that it partners with. Some examples of these are:
- EATS (European Airline Training Symposium)
- Athens Flying Week
- Industry workgroups (with the presence of ATPG & EASA)
- Major Airshows such as the Dubai Airshow, Aero Friedrichshafen, the Bahrain Airshow and the Kuwait Airshow
- IAAPS (International Association of Aviation Personnel Schools) annual meeting
- Pilot Careers Live; Europe’s largest independent flight training exhibition
Egnatia Aviation is one of the leading flight schools in Europe and has a 95.7% employment rate. They currently have alumni flying for airlines in 61 different countries around the world and as the collaboration continues to improve between flight schools and airlines, this number is expected to grow.